Massachusetts restaurants get creative during COVID-19 pandemic

Massachusetts News

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) — Many restaurants rely on their loyal customers to keep them in business through hard times. But during a pandemic, the need for foot traffic is even higher.

Some restaurant managers say that outdoor dining and online delivery services have really helped them through the pandemic so far.

“With the students coming back it was pretty good at first. We’re kind of worried about the winter but until then it’s been pretty good,” said Aidan Lyons, shift supervisory at Antonio’s Pizza in Amherst. Much of their customer base is long-time locals and seasonal college students.

“I’ve been going here my entire life. They have the best pizza, they have the best toppings, and the staff is actually really really nice,” Antonio’s Pizza customer Zack Strangman said.

According to the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, nearly one-fifth of all restaurants in Massachusetts have closed permanently due to COVID-19. But what’s keeping some alive? Antonio’s Pizza had to get creative.

“We started our own delivery service in the spring and that’s been kept out business pretty consistent throughout the pandemic,” Lyons continued.

But they’re not in the clear quite yet.

“Business is going good not great. We’re still missing a lot of people from the town. We’re missing a lot of business from the town because not all the restaurants are open but we’re surviving,” said Antonio’s store manager, David Bourgeoius.

They said they’re thankful for their daily customers as well as the local colleges who buy large orders for functions. “Every slice counts,” Bourgeoius said.

Congress is still debating another stimulus bill that potentially helps out small businesses.

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