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Downtown pub shuts for the winter, but please don't call it 'hibernation'

Boston Restaurant Talk reports that Hennessy's on Union Street has closed, but is not going gentle into that bad night:

Hibernation is a term that invokes a pleasantness, nothing about this decision is pleasant. Our wings have been clipped by new regulations put forth on our industry. Closing for the winter is our form of a tourniquet, slowing the bleed so that we can open again in the Spring.

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Comments

“We didn’t decide to close restaurants and bars, they chose to close on their own. We did all we could.”

Running out the clock.

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Voting closed 19

We'll (expletive) up and elect them both again.

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My tourniquet

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To ask/force restaurants to close without offering support is unethical. I'm not suggesting letting people get COVID is preferable but what the government is doing is just exacerbating inequality and bankrupting one of the few opportunities for minorities and outsiders to own a private business.

Restaurants have very high fixed costs. Besides renting the physical space, most restaurants also rent certain appliances like dishwashers. Since the up-front cost of opening a restaurant is so high (you need $20k worth of plates, etc) most restaurants have loan payments which don't get paused when they aren't open for business or are running take-out only. And a medium sized restaurant could have $5-20k worth of perishable food that's going to become a loss.

Even the electricity for coolers is a substantial expense.

There's a reason why restaurants need a liquor license -- it represents one of the few higher profit margins they have going. (And it's not that high of a margin either.)

Upping the tip is going to help the front of house staff (they deserve it) but it isn't going to save the business. Restaurants have been surviving on savings since April. They can't make it another ~4 months. Most places which are going into "hibernation" won't be waking up in the spring.

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The rich (landlords, banks) get richer. Working people get thrown out like so much trash.
Restaurants have a catch-22, try to stay afloat despite risk of disease and restrictions that make their business model impossible, anyway. So many people will lose their life's work. Then the rich will finance new ventures. No forgiveness, no justice for the long suffering, hard working people in hospitality.

And the landlords and financers who are bleeding them dry have somehow convinced everybody it's our fault for not going out to eat right now.

Six weeks of an actual lockdown would squash the virus and allow everyone to resume normal economic activity. Instead we are going on a full year of back and forth over half measures. This is a travesty.

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... many people’s budgets. Most restaurants underpay their staff and expect customers to give them handouts. It’s not unknown for owners and managers to illegally require a cut of tips or to illegally add on more side work for servers or to require kitchen staff to do food prep on their own time. Most restaurants waste an obscene amount of food. Many restaurants have usurped sidewalk space. Restaurant staff has been expected to expose themselves unnecessarily to unmasked patrons. The hospitality industry is known for a higher than usual level of sexual harassment and exploitation of immigrants.

I’m not shedding any tears.

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No one was making you go out to eat.

You're wrong on most of your points. Do you think like restaurants like to waste food? Wasted food is wasted money. But people won't come back to a restaurant in which 1/2 their menu is unavailable and no one is going to accept rotten food.

Sexual harassment is a problem in every industry. It's inexcusable but not all owners are the same. If you want to take a stand, only go to places owned by women -- you'll find a higher percentage of woman owners and managers at restaurants than in most other businesses categories.

How can you complain about restaurants being too expensive and at the same time talk about them not paying their people well enough? Hint: The amount people are paid is proportional the amount customers are willing to pay. Independent restaurant owners are not getting rich. Not before the Pandemic and not now.

When people talk about a city being interesting and unique, they are mostly talking about independent restaurants and art venues -- the very businesses hurt the most during the pandemic.

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.. no reference to individual owners.

Cities have more to offer than restaurants and art museums.

Like it or not, I’m quite right on all my points.

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Well explained.

I would add that the whole curbside/outdoor dining model was never meant as a wholesale substitute for business as usual. Many restaurants that found “success” with that model still failed to see a profit most if not every month. The idea was survival, to bridge the gap from the initial stay-at-home order/flatten the curve to the fall when, presumably, we’d have our s*** together and restaurants would have an opportunity to begin to rebuild and recoup losses.

As of today, December will exceed November as the month with the highest number of new Covid cases. It is December 14. January 1 - February 13 is notoriously slow and difficult for the industry in good economic times. As noted by BostonDog, the restaurant death toll is poised to surge.

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have been cheering along these Covid restrictions. Don't people see this is the downside that has been spoken of? I just find it unfathomable that we can continue to make these blunders with all the data available. Are people aware that with the exception of the March-May Lockdown, and ensuing nursing home blunders and medical errors that followed, we have actually seen almost zero excess deaths in MA? There are weekly charts available at the CDC site for 2019 here
https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Weekly-Counts-of-Deaths-by-State-and-Select-Ca...

Please compare with current all cause weekly deaths. Lockdowns and mistakes caused deaths, Aside from mental health, MA Hospitals are not at capacity..they are normal. Why are people blindly following such nonsense in the media. So much good data exists and so many credible scientists explaining this. Why the ignorance? How can people continue to be bamboozled and cheerlead the burning of the world. Advocating for lockdowns and stay at home restrictions is advocating for poverty, it is advocating for starvation, it is advocating for the unnecessary death of millions, it is advocating for uneducated children, its advocating for starving children, for destruction of the middle class, and for greater division between rich and poor. The amount of morons on this site that continue to push this broken, wrong, ignorant, and ridiculously stupid agenda is just mind boggling. Wake up..and stop censoring.

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Death is not the only serious consequence of Covid infection.

Death is not the only serious consequence of Covid infection.

Death is not the only serious consequence of Covid infection.

Death is not the only serious consequence of Covid infection.

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Which has been obvious common knowledge for a while now. Always a clue that you are encountering manipulative fake news when you see death rate highlighted among no other factors.

...oh and "flu." Also a good indicator you're dealing with a nut if that word comes up.

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To ask/force restaurants to close without offering support is unethical

You seem to understand the economics of the restaurant business quite well. Given that, it's puzzling to me that you don't seem to understand that "government" is not one big amorphous blob of undifferentiated bureaucrats, but instead a multi-level system operating under a variety of rule sets. The "government" that "asked/forced restaurants to close" does not print money, is not allowed to operate at a deficit, and does not have the funds to "offer support" in the way that restaurants need. The "government" that can, didn't "ask/force restaurants to close" because covid is a hoax, or it's curable with aspirin, or it's no worse than a mild flu, or it'll go away in the summer (some summer), or something like that, so hey why provide support?

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First, I'm referring to every level of government. But for funding, if the government(s) have the ability to force businesses to close, they also have the ability to raise taxes and issue bonds.

There are many COVID winners. Many big businesses are doing fantastically. People working from home in professional jobs just got a pay raise in the form of no commuting costs and a lot more free time. If you have money in the stock market, 2020 is one of the best years ever.

If slowing the spread of COVID helps everyone, why isn't everyone paying? Right now the cost of COVID is disproportionately falling on lower income and minority workers.

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First, I'm referring to every level of government.

I...wasn't...replying to you?

But for funding, if the government(s) have the ability to force businesses to close, they also have the ability to raise taxes and issue bonds.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts can issue bonds? News to me. And raise taxes in a timely enough manner to help people who are days away from being thrown out in the street? Yeah, that's definitely a better solution than tapping federal resources where the money is already there and could be allocated with the stroke of a pen.

If slowing the spread of COVID helps everyone, why isn't everyone paying? Right now the cost of COVID is disproportionately falling on lower income and minority workers.

No argument there. Please look at the comment that I was responding to, maybe?

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.. like you were indeed responding to his/her first comment.

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from talking to people i know in the entertainment / food service business, and just reading general comments on MA-centric websites, there seems to be a sizable portion of MA residents who are arguing against both COVID restrictions as well as the kind of government assistance that would sustain local businesses through the winter months.

not saying Baker and co. have handled things perfectly by any stretch, but i really don’t know what can be done.

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I observe the same thing, and I'm sick of the government adopting this compromise position of "OK we'll close things and also not offer much support" that's the worst of both worlds.

I'm also sick of seeing people complain blame "regulations" for their pandemic-related closure. The virus is closing these businesses; not the governor, not the boards of health, not liberal scaredy-cats. The virus is the one and only reason the government has taken any of these actions, and that's where blame belongs. Blame the governor or whomever else for things that are actually within their control, like the lack of support to help workers and businesses survive the closures the pandemic has caused, but blaming "regulations" just sounds whiny and political.

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