SCARBOROUGH — With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, local restaurants that offered dine-in eating have had to close or change the way they do business.

Since Gov. Janet Mills ordered all restaurants and bars in the state of Maine to shut down dine-in services, according to an executive order she signed on March 18, establishments that want to stay open have had to add or expand to delivery and curbside pickup in a short amount of time as the Covid-19 outbreak continues.

Gatherings of 10 people or more have also been banned under the threat of Covid-19.

Many restaurants have added online ordering to their websites, including O’Reilly’s Cure Restaurant & Bar on 264 Route 1 in Scarborough.

Patrick O’Reilly, co-owner of O’Reilly’s Cure, said that it took about a week to program the restaurant’s computers, but switching to delivery and take-out hasn’t been too tricky on the logistical side.

The restaurant uses high-end biodegradable take-out containers and flatware, said O’Reilly.

“We were open for lunch and dinner Monday through Wednesday, but business was so slow, so we’re just doing dinner those days,” he said. “Forty-eight people got laid off. We were able to keep all the people on salary and our kids are home from college so they’re helping.”

He and his staff have been grateful for the continued support, he said. O’Reilly’s has had enough business that a few staff members were called in to help with takeout orders.

Burgers have been popular, he said, as well as sides like poutine and French fries. The restaurant has also been selling a lot of cottage pie.

“We have a large group of our customers who don’t cook,” O’Reilly said. “They eat out all the time or they don’t like to cook or can’t cook. There’s definitely a need for it, and we have takeout beer and wine and we have cans and bottles, with the relaxing of alcohol rules.”

Most customers have felt comfortable enough to do curbside pickup or delivery, he said. O’Reilly’s Cure has been accommodating individuals’ specific demands.

“People (ordering takeout) are generally just rolling their window down and they’re paying with remote means, and we have remote card swipers,” said O’Reilly. “So there’s no money changing hands. I don’t think people are going crazy about (potentially spreading Covid-19). We’ve had people wanting us to leave their delivery in a certain spot and they come to get it. I think people are just happy to support a local business.”

The impact of the pandemic may be in affect even after the threat has ended, O’Reilly said. He wondered if restaurants would be pressured into keeping tables farther apart or lowering the maximum amount of patrons inside at one time.

“I’m hoping that people are comfortable enough with their health and safety that they can go out and enjoy a meal,” he said. “Are we gonna have to lose half of our tables because they’ll have to be spread out at least six feet? I hope people are actually comfortable enough to return to normal.”

Although the pandemic has been tough on many businesses, restaurants have been especially hurting, said O’Reilly.

Portland Food Map offers a full list of restaurants in the greater Portland area that are still open. The list can be found at www.portlandfoodmap.com/new-takeout-curbside-delivery-options/.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: