Local restaurant owners weigh safety, take financial hit with temporary COVID-19 closure

Local News

Owners of The Landmark Restaurant in Austintown decided to close for the safety of employees and customers

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many restaurants and businesses have had to close due to COVID-19. The Landmark Restaurant & Bakery recently made the decision to shutter its doors for a while — a decision the owners said they didn’t take lightly on their first day back in business since the end of last week. 

“We weren’t mandated to shut down. It was just a decision on what the right thing to do was,” said Raphe Neapolitan.

He and Matt Savon both own The Landmark Restaurant in Austintown.

Last week, an employee reported possible coronavirus exposure. Out of caution, everyone got tested, and one came back positive with no symptoms, so the owners decided to close down for deep cleaning. 

“For our customers and for our staff, obviously, it’s not an easy decision, but we thought it was the right decision,” Savon said. 

Weekends are high-revenue days for restaurants, and according to Neapolitan, they didn’t receive CARES Act money because they took ownership of the restaurant after February 2019. So, he said, they have taken a financial hit from the closure.

“We have eight employees here that also depend on this,” Savon said. “They want to work, they want to make money, too, but there’s food waste, stuff goes bad over the course of those days.” 

Savon also said that they realize people might be worried about coming back but assured that they are continuing to limit capacity, space tables six feet apart and clean menus, tables, chairs and the salt and pepper shakers after each use.  

“We do everything we can here,” Neapolitan said. “It’s an unfortunate situation. It’s going to happen here, just like it happens everywhere else, and I’d like to think we made the right decision and have the best practices in place to prevent it from happening again.”  

Neapolitan said customers and staff have been understanding and appreciate them for handling it the way they did. 

“It’s a really tough decision for everybody,” Savon said. “We have a great staff that rolls with the punches and helps us out tremendously.” 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on WKBN.com