It is 95 degrees and it feels like 106.
I have been on my feet outside for six straight hours. I am hot, sweaty and exhausted. Despite this, I am happy — happy to be able to do what I love and serve my friends and patrons at John and Peter’s.
With each round of revisions to our governor’s plan to reopen, I have been forced to reinvent my business model to ensure that I can keep compliant, and in so doing ensure the safety of my staff and those that are visiting us. The stress of all of this has certainly impacted my ability to sleep, and thus makes each day a little bit more difficult to muster up the strength and motivation to put one foot in front of the other.
All of that said, what we are doing at its most basic level is fighting to keep our dream alive. With each day of positive sales, we are slowly rebuilding our bank accounts to prepare for the upcoming winter. We are doing this knowing that the two-and-a-half-month shutdown has decimated the finances of our small “slice of heaven.” We have lost roughly 50 percent of our annual revenue, we have incurred debt in the form of needed forgiveness of our monthly obligations, and we are now operating with minimal capacity and almost completely at the mercy of the weather. Heat and rain are all too common this time of year, and with each glance at the forecast, we wince and hope that people will brave the elements and join us. Each day, we are pleasantly surprised to see smiling eyes above our masks.
Our community has truly rallied together in support of all of our beloved establishments, and the warmth and generosity that we have seen has truly humbled me to my core. When I took over John and Peter’s three years ago, I would have never thought that we would find ourselves in a position where we would have needed to lean so heavily on the community to keep our heads above water, yet here we are and we are making the best of it. This can be made difficult by those who feel it necessary not to comply with the rules that we are forced to uphold. Masks are required when standing or moving about the facility. This is not negotiable in any form.
Remember that dining out is a privilege, not a right, and as such it can be taken away if you feel it necessary to willfully violate the rules. We find ourselves working far harder to do what we love these days, and we really don’t need to hear your opinion about masks, as we really and truly don’t care about opinions. Cursing at us and telling us that we are stupid for wearing masks and enforcing policies is counterproductive and downright shameful. We care about staying open, and that means masks are mandatory to maintain the safety of everyone around you. There is nothing we can do about it, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that we can remain operational, as a secondary shutdown will all but decimate the small businesses of our beloved little town.
In summary, we are stressed, nervous, happy, tired and staring directly into the unknown these days. We implore you to adhere to the rules and support all of our small businesses, but please do so in a polite and compliant manner. We have worked very hard to get where we are and there is still a very long way to go to recovering in full and restoring life to “normal.”
We need to continue to rally together and stay positive, while thinking about the well-being of everyone around us.
Mike Wieners is co-owner of John & Peter’s at 96 S. Main St. in New Hope.