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COVID closes area restaurants even as restrictions lift

June isn’t two weeks old and it’s already been a tough month for some area restaurants.

As social restrictions put in place in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to ease, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has forced one well-known restaurant to close for most of the summer and another to shut its doors, possibly permanently.

Another restaurant announced that it would reopen Tuesday after closing last week after an employee tested positive for the disease. Tests of the other employees came back negative for the virus.

Duner’s Restaurant in Ivy announced on Tuesday that it will close until August, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

“It seems pointless to keep closing and reopening as cases appear,” restaurant management posted on the restaurant’s website. “We are planning to reopen Thursday, Aug. 27. Hopefully by that time, we will be in Phase 4 and be allowed to fully seat people inside the restaurant. Thanks again for all of your support, please stay safe!”

Earlier this month, Wild Wing Café announced it would shutter the West Main Street restaurant and sports bar for good after 17 years.

“It is with a heavy heart, that I have decided to permanently close the doors to Wild Wing Cafe Charlottesville effective immediately,” Chad Ragland, franchisee with Wild Wing Café announced June 5 on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“[The] COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic hardships and challenges, from the cancellation of spring sports, to the uncertainty of fall college sports,” Ragland wrote, noting that restrictions on businesses and “the challenges that lie ahead for a sports bar in a college town are overwhelming.”

Ragland said he hoped the closing wouldn’t be “forever” and asked loyal customers to support other local restaurants and businesses.

“Charlottesville restaurants have been especially affected by COVID-19 and we encourage everyone to support locally owned operations,” he said. “We Are Charlottesville. Until we meet again, stay well and stay wild.”

Beer Run, which sells craft and quality beers from around the country and the world as well as wine and serves meals, announced that it would reopen on Tuesday. The restaurant had closed Friday after an employee had been exposed to the virus elsewhere and tested positive.

“This news is amazing not only for the health of our staff, but also reassures us regarding the effectiveness of the extra measures we’ve taken in order to protect our staff and community,” management wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “It also makes the point even stronger that masks, along with other precautions are effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and we ALL should be wearing masks and maintaining social distance in order to protect one another, even as businesses and restaurants begin to re-open to the public.”

The pandemic has been especially hard on restaurants, according to the National Restaurant Association, a trade organization. A survey by the association showed that more than 8 million employees, about two thirds of restaurant employees, lost their jobs after social restrictions were put in place.

Restaurants across the country were estimated to have lost $80 billion in sales in March and April.


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