Restaurant owner: We ‘won’t survive’ if restrictions continue much longer

Blue Paddle Bistro

STAYING AFLOAT: Mandy Hotchkiss, co-owner at Blue Paddle Bistro in South Hero, says running a restaurant takes creative efforts to survive the governor’s ongoing anti-business COVID regulations.

Restaurant owners continue to struggle to survive as Gov. Phil Scott ratchets up ever-increasing restrictions on business.

Last week, Scott said bars and clubs must be closed completely. And while restaurants are restricted to 50 percent capacity indoors, they must close down at 10 p.m., and patrons are required to wear masks when not at a table.

Carol Paquette, the owner of Sarducci’s Italian Restaurant in Montpelier, told True North by phone that the restriction on bars is falling hard on bartenders.

[The bar is not] “the biggest part of the business, but it’s a part that people really enjoy, and it gives a job for the bartenders, so that part is sad,” she said.

“The numbers have gotten really out of hand and everybody has to do what they have to do, so in that, I am very willing to do my part. But I feel sad because when we got to open the bar it felt very encouraging, and I knew that come fall things would change — but I feel that things have really changed.”

Paquette said that aside from the regulations, there’s the fact that people are just fearful.

“People seem not comfortable to come inside, and we’re still doing a lot of the curbside business, but besides that it’s grim,” she said.

In the whole state, there have been 64 deaths associated with the Coronavirus since March.

Paquette said it’s better to be safe, but the uncertainty is challenging for business owners.

“It’s not like my restaurant has to be closed. If it’s just the bar that has to be closed then OK,” she said. “I don’t know what’s next, and I’m scared of what’s next. … I will tell you that at a certain point, we won’t survive. These businesses won’t survive, we can’t survive on curbside alone — I can probably survive for a few months but that would be it.”

Mandy Hotchkiss is the co-owner of Blue Paddle Bistro in South Hero, which has been in business for 16 years. The company has a new summer location called Blue Paddle at the Bay. She said at the new location they were able to be outdoors in large spaces, and at the original location they’ve also focused on outdoors and takeout.

She said with these adjustments they’ve been able to continue forward.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s been challenging,” Hotchkiss said. “I’ve lost sleep. … [I’m] just concerned about not knowing what’s going to happen. A lot of people don’t even want to go out to do takeout. … And also after a long period of time people’s discretionary income starts to dry up.”

She says for the time being her business is not doing indoor seating “because of the intimacy and how small [the] restaurant is.”

Hotchkiss added that at some point things should get back to normal, but only if people stay safe.

“We’re going to get back to normal when everybody says ‘OK, for this short amount of time we’re all going to do what we’re supposed to do.’ … If people just do what the scientists say, wear your mask, social distance six feet apart, use the hand sanitizer, and if we do this for two months and the vaccines are coming, we’ll come out of it.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

12 thoughts on “Restaurant owner: We ‘won’t survive’ if restrictions continue much longer

  1. One of the major intentions of the global elites is to destroy our free market system and replace it with global socialism. This virus fear mongering is being used to do exactly that. If Biden succeeds in stealing the presidential election you can kiss our current form of Constitutional government goodby.

    • This election was and is critical to the success or failure of the great reset. Trump represents the only front line in this war because he understands what is coming and offers a way to fight and overcome it!

      He addresses corruption head on when he puts America first, so the corrupt had no choice but to use fraud to remove him, why, because he inspires the spirit of Americans and that is too liberating for those seeking total domination and power via a global reset.

      Though many of his followers do not fully understand what is in play he motivates them in a way that is contrary and counter productive to the global elites desires, and of great danger to their plans and success.

      This link explains the gist of what is happening.

      • Amazing video Lynn, amazing.

        See this is why in Vermont we have a poverty trap. People are renting, subsidized and propagated by the state. People are getting very, very rich keeping people poor. Not owning property, Bernies plan for “affordable housing”.

        This video is very very enlightening.

      • We might sum up what is coming in an age of technocracy– with major players such as Apple, Google, FB, and online mainstream media (like VTDigger), etc.– as a system of technology allied with government opacity, coupled with individual transparency. In a government responsive to the people we should have a condition more like government transparency and individual opacity: the government has no business knowing our business except within narrow limits, while at the same time the actions and justifications of government should be largely transparent to citizens who are to judge that government.

        The ultimate motivation for such a system of government opacity/individual transparency, whereby we can be subtly or not-so-subtly manipulated to do what we’re told (you do have your digital immunity certificate to travel, don’t you?) is likely to keep citizens from protesting whatever measures/policies might be enacted to benefit the global players. GMO foods, taking third world lands for first-world crop production, subjugating nations to an agenda to save the planet from CO2, ensuring mainstream media touts a line favorable to funneling power, money, and control to the top 1% (or the 0.001%): any opposition to these can be countered if, in a technocratic world, they know where you are and what you’re doing and have access to digital data about you. Track and trace. To keep us all safe and “free,” of course.

        Imagine if you go to a protest: your digital immunity certificate will be scanned by electronic devices which will be interconnected in this “internet of things.” They will know you were there. You may not get arrested, buy maybe your water and electricity will be turned off for a day. You call up the companies and no one knows anything about this, just a glitch in the system … or maybe a message. Repeat offenders might find that their bosses are sorry, but they have to let you go, we hear you’re being uncooperative.

        This may be wild conspiracy theory but like it or not, conspiracy theories have always played an honorable role in American politics (think Jefferson and his suspicions of a monarchist conspiracy from Hamilton.) Such theories are actually healthy as they induce vigilance and wariness of motives.

        We can already see how Covid, a disease that strikes hardest at those at the end of life (don’t most diseases do this?) but that, gratefully, leaves children mostly untouched (unlike the flu or smallpox) is unnecessarily being used as justification for social control of everyone, and we have every right to be suspicious of the motives for this.

  2. This past year we have certainly been tested, but the masses failed to see, there is no vaccine coming that will make us immune from the loss of liberty we have encountered in 2020. Indeed, the fear that allowed arbitrary dictates by our government, was never about a pandemic, it was about treating a virus as if it were a pandemic, in order to complete our transformation to a new world order.

    The only death we have to fear, is that of our Republic!

    • Well said…..some of us have seen this coming, we laid out what the plan was, because it was all out there for people to see. It’s why we attempted to start something new, not because we didn’t love so many in the political sphere, but because we knew things needed to change. The table had already been set, there is a bigger plan to which we don’t know, nor do we control.

      We can freely assemble in our country. People whom know truth from propaganda, democracy from republic, love from hate and lead. One thing about a house of mirrors, the truth is like a stone, if we keep telling the truth, show love for our neighbors, the smoke and mirrors will quickly clear.

      It’ s all planned out…..suddenly the virus will be no longer so potent, a flu vaccine will be 2x more effective than any other ever created, they don’t want you using any other cures, just like the President and Ben Carson had the fortune of using……because the panic would be over to soon.

  3. This is why The Great Barrington Declaration is a rational way to handle this pandemic. Some people may hate Trump, but during the last debate he nailed it: if we keep this up, we’re not going to have a country.

    The idea of focused protection, as espoused in The great Barrington Declaration, makes sense: what we should be doing is focusing on food and medical deliveries, etc., for those who are at highest risk of dying from Covid, keeping in mind that for schoolchildren, Covid is like a flu: the younger one is, the lesser is the fatality from Covid. Sweden didn’t close elementary schools, and zero children died. We’re ignoring that practical, real-world lesson.

    Even with a safe and effective vaccine, and soon, what will we do when Covid-20 comes? Rinse and repeat lockdowns? To stay safe?

    • They aren’t ignoring it, they don’t want to do this. It’s part of the great reset. Which is a new term for globalism, that hates nations, God, private property, our constitution, countries that want to rule themselves.

      They are really into taking every bodies money and redistributing it as they see fit. They love to make money of keeping people poor, the poverty trap is their specialty.

      If they can collapse the economy and make you dependent upon the government, they will have won. Being dependent upon the state is the goal, then your are owned, operated and told what to do by politicians.

      They had many terms for this in the past. Chattel, slave, serf, peasant….this has nothing, nothing to do with Covid, that is why very, very few are using excellent advice like what you have written.

      Irony? You can legally commit suicide in Vermont, physician assisted no less.

      But we can’t get a beer. It’s not safe.

      • The time is here to Rise Up Neil.. by the time people start figuring this out, they are going to be standing in a pile of rubble that was our society that we created.
        The time to Rise Up is BEFORE it’s a pile of rubble, not after.
        This business, and many others, are crying “UNCLE!!” because they’ve had the boot on their neck for so long.

        • I’ve been chastised by some for not saying only positive things about Republicans…..guilty as charged.

          Here is a clip for people to watch.

          We don’t have to support Trump in Vermont as a republican.

          We, in Vermont have so much injustice, corruption, mismanagement and abuse of the poor, the elderly, women, children, companies, taxpayers….

          Our Health Care continuous debacle
          No affordable homes
          No Good Jobs
          People leaving, drug dealers moving in.
          Our state becoming the largest drug dealer.
          A funding system for our schools that defies any sense or logic, it doesn’t support good teachers, a real education nor a good return for thy money.

          Nobody is assembling and defending our basic provisions in the constitution.

          Everyone stands by for example and says little or nothing about Miss Gray not meeting he constitutional requirements to hold office. It’s so basic, be a citizen and live in the state 4 years prior to election. She hasn’t lived her. She’s the pick of the Great Reset….those in power, she’s our leader.

          In the above video they talk about 100’s of thousands of people going to Washington for love of country and our president …….and NO Republican candidate was there to support the people.

          Does this sound familiar? May his Grace fall upon our true leaders, open doors, confuse the enemy.

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