BAR HARBOR – Restaurant owners fought COVID-19 restrictions all summer, which led to many challenges they had to encounter.
“It was an exhausting and unknown time for sure,” said Jena Young, owner of Side Street Cafe.
Early on in the summer, stores and restaurants were forced to remain closed past their normal opening dates because of the pandemic quarantine guidelines.
“We were really in a deep hole in the spring and I didn’t know if we were going to dig out of it and we haven’t so the summer was a pleasant surprise as far as our town and our staff did an awesome job of keeping everyone safe,” said Young.
The pandemic caused a lot of Mainers to take vacations across the state. Also, the increase in tourism caught some businesses without enough staff.
The Independent Cafe had to switch gears and close for a couple of weeks due to under staffing.
“We had employees from last year who did come back to help and that kept us going through August and then in September we did the best we could, but we got to a point where there was an hour wait for sandwiches and we had to close because of it,” said Tim Rich, owner of Independent Cafe.
Both owners agree this COVID-19 experience was a unique challenge which forced them to find different ways to adjust to reality.
“There were times when we had to look at our staff and say it’s okay we are going to lower our bar, we are going to close a little early and we are going to make these adjustments because it’s hard to keep up,” said Young.
The Side Street Cafe usually closes in November, however Young said they will remain open for the entire month.