Philadelphia restaurants, already battered by closings and restrictions related to the coronavirus, are suffering a further economic hit by the city-imposed curfews related to the protests against police brutality.
The city began curfews starting at 6 and 8 p.m. about a week ago, cutting into dinnertime takeout and delivery business, as well as the walk-in trade. For many restaurants in a city that relies heavily on carryout, the impact has been dramatic.
Leo Osmanollaj, an owner of M2O Burgers & Salads at Fifth and Monroe Streets, said he had been “just covering costs” after the coronavirus swept many office workers out of the Queen Village neighborhood, dramatically affecting his lunch trade. “Now we’re off another 20%” because he has to shut down early, he said.
Most restaurants stop taking orders 60 to 90 minutes before curfew to allow time for cooking, delivery, and staff departure. On a Friday or Saturday night, it’s a killer.
“It’s just one thing after another,” said Aaron Anderson, who opened the Original Hot Dog Factory, a takeout-only shop on 15th Street near Arch, as the pandemic began to surface in March. Since many protests are within a block of his location, he has been keeping his door open after curfew for walk-ins.
The curfew has slashed business as much as 75% at Turp’s Kitchen at Third Street and Snyder Avenue in South Philadelphia, which opened March 7 with a slate of cooking classes, a 16-seat dining room, and takeout and delivery service.
Turp’s, which specializes in jerk chicken, is miles from any of the protests. But most of Turp’s delivery business comes in after 6 p.m. daily, said owner LaTonya Turpin. Some customers have adjusted their ordering schedules.
“I understand the curfews. These protests are for a greater cause,” said Scott Hockfield, who uses six delivery services, including his own employees on bicycles, to serve orders from the Wrap Shack in Washington Square West. “My bike guys get held up [by the barricades], and it takes a half-hour to go eight blocks. But I’m not crying about it. We’ll get through it.”