DELMAR— As eateries across the Capital District open their doors for in-dine service, one popular Delmar restaurant has opted to keep them closed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the OK to allow restaurants to open in-dine service as Phase 3 of his multi-phase plan to reopen the state. Restaurants were allowed to serve outdoor dining, but indoor service was not permitted until Wednesday, June 17. Elisa and Jose Arteche said they had been “inundated” with “hundreds of calls” asking when they would open Shogun of Delmar for dining again. The couple released an online statement to tell patrons they will not be opening their doors “for the immediate future.”
“After careful consideration, we will not be reopening for dine in service at this time,” the Arteches stated. The popular sushi and saki bar will continue to serve contact-free delivery, curbside service and takeout, as it has since virus-related shutdowns began in March. But, they said, “there are still too many unknowns with COVID-19,” to reopen.
The Arteches lengthy online statement repeatedly thanked patrons for service, and urged those to continue visiting and following the rules while dining at other restaurants, but also expressed concern as they watch news coverage from other states and countries.
“We have been keeping track of what’s happening in other states and countries that reopened already and we are concerned about the possibility of another surge,” the Arteches said. “Frankly we want to be proven wrong. It would be amazing if New York state does not go through a second wave.”
New York state had long stood on top of the list of COVID-19 cases in the United States. At one point, the number of cases in the Empire State ranked within the top six countries in the world. According to John Hopkins University & Medicine, New York peaked at more than 11,000 cases a day in early April. That same figure is now down to 606 as of Tuesday, June 16.
However, while New York cases continue to trend downwards, other places in the country are climbing up. Arizona has climbed from approximately 670 cases to 1744 cases a day, from June 1 to June 16. Within that same time window, Florida has spiked from 674 to 2,384 cases a day and Texas has doubled its figures from 1,545 to 3,059. Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina are also trending up. These states have practiced relatively relaxed social distancing compared with New York. The shutdowns mandated from Albany, however, caused the hospitality industry to lose billions in income.
“Please understand that while the law does not mandate all restaurants to open, for many hospitality businesses, phase 3 is not optional,” said the Arteches.
The Arteches said the relative small size of their restaurant’s dining room factored into their decision. Opening the restaurant with reduced capacity would not carry much more of an advantage than the curbside service it already provides.
The Arteches said the shutdown has allowed them the “bright side” of time to reflect on the past.
They had purchased Shogun of Delmar from entrepreneur Frank Lee, who started the restaurant more than 10 years ago. He continues to own the sister Shogun location and Rain Modern Chinese in Albany. They now plan to reimagine their restaurant with plans to renovate the interior, redesigning the menu and reevaluating their service goals.
“Thank you to everyone that is willing and able to support dine-in service at all locally owned restaurants,” the Arteches said. “Small business is truly at the heart of the community.”