Hibernation Resignation?

Published by Chris Wangler- December 23, 2020.

Expanding coronavirus restrictions are leading some Waltham restaurants to hibernate, while others are trying to crawl through the winter.
“We’re being targeted and it’s just not fair,” said Lauren LaCava of Shoppers Cafe on Moody. “They’re putting a lot on us.”
Shoppers is staying open over the winter, but seeing a drop in business this holiday season as the new rules keep customers away.
Customers can stay for only 90 minutes, and places must close at 9:30 p.m. Masks must be worn at all times except when eating and drinking.
Just as the new restrictions were taking effect, the governor on Tuesday announced new ones over Christmas, limiting capacity to 25%, down from 40%.
“We are constantly having to remind people what the rules are,” Lauren said. She added that Shoppers customers and staff were doing everything they could to follow them.
But a Patriots game is out of the question with that 90-minute shot clock. “That’s the big one,” said Lauren. “People are baffled by that.”
Other restaurant/bars are hibernating.
Last Wednesday, another Moody Street place, Brewer’s Tap & Table (bottom left photo), announced it was closing until the spring, saying it was “the toughest decision we’ve had to make.”
A Brewer’s Facebook post attributed the temporary closing to “rising infection rates and increased dining restrictions.”
The first to hibernate was The Gaff, a small Moody bar that suspended operations last month. Last weekend, Playmakers on Moody Street joined the hibernators.
“After outside dining went away, it was about a 40-60% dip in sales,” Playmakers owner Tim Burke commented on Facebook.
Meanwhile, across from Shoppers, Franco’s Pizzeria and Pub started hibernating last week.
A Franco’s employee declined to say how long its closure would last, estimating between a month and six weeks. “We’re losing a lot of business,” he said.
It’s been an especially tough year for the Moody Street staple, open since 1980.
Back in early August, a heavily intoxicated patron at Franco’s was taken into custody by Waltham Police.
The patron had wandered away from a COVID-compliant outdoor section out back to drink his own nips, returning drunk and belligerent.
During a license commission hearing, Franco’s owner was adamant that Franco’s followed all coronavirus rules.
He added that “we’re not pushing alcohol” even though he said Franco’s revenues were down by about 40%.
The commission suspended Franco’s liquor license for five days, citing a number of police incidents in recent years.