Local businesses ‘hibernating’ this winter due to COVID-19

Local businesses ‘hibernating’ this winter due to COVID-19

BOSTON — Taking a break this winter is the last thing restaurants want to do but for many to survive it is their only option.

Michale Moxley owns Canary Square in Jamaica Plain. He closed the staple neighborhood restaurant indefinitely on Dec. 5th.

“I really don’t know what else to do right now,” said Moxley.

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William Kovel’s Cambridge restaurant Catalyst also shut down for the winter.

“At the end of the day, as a business owner, you have to ask, ‘Is it worth it?’ and we came to the conclusion it wasn’t,” said Kovel.

More and more restaurants are looking at taking a break - a hibernation - to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our guests were great and were always there for us but restaurants have such larger fixed costs and it just gets to a certain point where it’s just not worth it,” said Moxley.

Catalyst opened in 2011. Business in Kendall Square was booming and 2019 the best year yet, but COVID-19 ended all that. Reopening was not easy and outdoor dining was tough.\

“As [the] weather got cold, no one wanted to eat outside,” said Kovel.

Canary Square found it challenging as well.

“Maintaining outside dining became harder and harder especially in the last three weeks,” said Moxley. “The last three weeks became really, really challenging.”

Both owners believe hibernating was the only option. Catalyst hopes to reopen in the spring.

“I am anticipating [reopening in] mid-April,” said Kovel.

As for Canary Square, that date like so many things about COVID-19, remains unclear.

“I didn’t know what to say, I don’t want to put a timeline on it and give false hope to my guests or my staff because I don’t know,” said Moxley.

Both owners worried about their business and all their employees who rely on them. Kovel compared hibernating to applying a tourniquet to stop the bleeding… hoping it will be enough to survive.

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