Oak Bluffs wary of reducing restaurant hours

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Seaweed's owner Danielle Pattavina, shown here during the summer, went to selectmen to ask if the restaurant could open only once a week.

Oak Bluffs selectmen denied a request from Seaweed’s to reduce its open days to one day a week, Saturdays, fearing it could set a precedent for other restaurants in town to close their doors.

Seaweed’s co-owner Danielle Pattavina said members of her staff continue to test negative weekly, but due to the spike in cases, foot traffic to their restaurant has been low. “We’re not breaking even; we’re losing money being open,” she said.

“Since there’s been spiking on the Island, we’ve been pretty dead,” co-owner Olivia Pattison added.

Selectman Brian Packish said he is concerned with a restaurant deciding to stay open only on Saturday nights. “We’ve got multiple restaurants in town that are still open multiple days a week, and cherry-picking Saturday night as the one night of the week just gives me concerns about the other folks staying open on those other nights,” he said.

Packish, who co-owns the building that houses the Red Cat, did not vote on any decision concerning Seaweed’s.

“I do think there’s a fairness issue here,” selectman Greg Coogan said. “Part of our job even in this time is to try and keep at least a place for people to eat if they choose to eat out … I would not be in favor of picking one night off the week.”

Selectman Ryan Ruley said it could result in a “domino effect” with other restaurants coming to the town ask to only be open Friday and Saturday, and closed the rest of the week.

Seaweed’s and selectmen settled on moving from a five-day week to four days, Thursday through Sunday.

  • I would much prefer that restaurants were there for us to enjoy after Covid, than to see them go out of business because they are not allowed to make adjustments where they need to in order to operate at all. We’ve all had to make adjustments since Covid. We also have had to accept the adjustments others have had to make. These are different times.

    • I agree with you Shawn. I have been getting take out a lot more now than ever just to support our restaurants but I would much rather be able to enjoy a meal at these places once Covid has settled down. I wish the town would let these businesses do what they think is best. They are losing money!! It is not fair for them to say no during a pandemic. I hope this article brings more people to Seaweed’s so they have a chance to survive many more years.

  • Absolutely should be ashamed of yourselves forcing a business to stay open during these times…Island Politics “not” at it’s finest. What I really want to say about this can’t be printed!

  • I understand the concept that the town can restrict the hours a business can be open, but had no idea a business could be forced to be open!!?? Seems wrong. And assuming I’m missing a concept that would support this policy in the big picture, it nonetheless should be obvious that we are experiencing drastically different circumstances which demand a response tailored for NOW. We need creative, out of the box thinking from town reps to address the current issues as they play out during this crisis. In my opinion this response is a head in the sand reaction and should be reversed.

  • Did really just read the first sentence of this story ? 3 times ?
    What the fence are the O B selectmen thinking ?
    Here is a person trying to save her business without killing her employees or her customers, and the selectmen object ?
    My advice Danielle, is to simply not order any shipments of food, and inform your patrons that you are temporarily out of everything except whatever one bartender can provide, and if the town requires it, some chips and salsa. Your employees would likely be eligible for unemployment .
    Also, tell your patrons that you only heat the place on Saturday.
    Perhaps you could even have some compassion, and allow a few “homeless drunks” to use the entrance of your establishment as a shelter, except of course on Saturday.
    You could suffer through ignorance with a skeleton staff.
    Shame on the OB selectpersons for their astounding ignorance of what it takes to stay open, and the fact that there is a serious spike in covid cases. Other places are shutting down restaurants to protect their citizens, and these selectpersons are trying to spread this disease for a few bucks of tax revenue.
    It’s a disgrace.

  • I don’t understand why a restaurant needs the town’s permission to open or close. Its their business and if they’re losing money why should they be forced to stay open.

  • As a fellow business owner I find this to be ridiculous. I assume that because Seaweeds has a liquor license, it is subject to the town concerning its open schedule. But to force a business to stay open while it is losing money is counterproductive. What will they say if they have to close altogether because they cannot sustain it? Fear should not be dictating decisions.

  • This is just silly. Government isn’t helping businesses much at all during this mess and now the selectman want to force a business to lose money? Pathetic! Would it better if they just shut it down and were open zero days a week instead of what the business thinks will keep that business viable? Hope the selectman wise up before it’s too late.

  • So Town Hall can close? Banks can close? OB fire station can stop doing inspections, all the major Summer places to eat can close – but an owner of a small restaurant comes and says she is literally losing money to stay open as I assume her liquor lisence is some other ordinance requires and she’s out of luck. Seriously OB? Embarrassed for you.

  • Sadly, Seaweed’s has opted to close for the season at the end of this weekend (Dec 6). We need to support the remaining open restaurants by dining in, taking out, or purchasing gift certificates for holiday giving to ensure they will survive the winter.

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