Vermont restaurants grapple with an uncertain future amid coronavirus outbreak


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A directive by Gov. Phil Scott in response to the coronavirus outbreak has shut the dining rooms of every restaurant in Vermont. While they can fill take-out and delivery orders, Scott’s order has created a lot of worry.

Earl Handy owns Handy’s Lunch, a popular lunch time spot on Maple Street in Burlington.

“Typically about 1:30 pm on a given day, we are pretty hoppin’. We have about fifteen to twenty people people here at a time,” Handy said. “And right now we don’t.”

“What do I do? How do I make this work?”

Handy said his wife and kids helped him make take-out only signs and put them on the windows, and hoped people would call for a breakfast sandwich or burger.

“We are going to do our best to just do what we do but just not here. Not at the counter.” said Handy

Restaurants all over Burlington had the same take-out only signs in the window, and like Handy, their owners were hoping customers would remain loyal.

Earl Handy says there are few other options. They have bills, insurance premiums and taxes to pay.

“So I just have to work harder and smarter and just try to do the best that we can.”

He know his customers will be going through their own difficulties, and he hopes everyone will rely on each other to get through it together.

“All of my customers are like family to me,” Handy said. “All the guys are like my brothers and we are always horsing around with each other. And family looks after family. And a lot of the them were the ones that called me today.”

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