Greenfield businesses staying open, but taking precautions

  • Board president April Jones, right, packs up meals in takeout containers for Justine Lyford at the Stone Soup Cafe at All Souls Church in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Meals are prepared in takeout containers at the Stone Soup Cafe at All Souls Church in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Dawn Jenner, right, and Sue Bradford purchase gift cards from People’s Pint employee Sandy Bailey on Saturday in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Precautionary measures being taken due to the COVID-19 virus are posted on the door of Greenfield Coffee on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • A hand sanitizing station greets customers at the door of Green Fields Market on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/15/2020 5:19:09 PM

GREENFIELD — As local events are canceled and some businesses are forced to close their doors for a week or more, others are taking extra precautions to stay open by conducting thorough sanitation, adjusting their business practices and hours, including the Stone Soup Cafe.

Stone Soup Cafe

Open every Saturday at noon, the Stone Soup Cafe is a “pay-what-you-can gourmet hot luncheon” served by volunteers at the All Souls Church in downtown Greenfield. Normally, the meal is served buffet style.

“Today, food is being kept in the kitchen and only served in to-go containers,” said Cafe Manager Patti Kain Saturday.

On Saturday, patrons could take their St. Patrick’s corned beef meals to-go, or eat in the dining room if they practiced social distancing — keeping six feet of distance between each other. Kain said some patrons who regularly attend the weekly meal, and older residents, have asked for deliveries while they stay home. Last week, the cafe served 125 meals in house, and 207 in total with delivery meals.

Executive Director and Head Chef Kirsten Levitt said the cafe team would meet today to decide how to hold a meal next weekend. The cafe serves many who rely on access to the meal each week, so Levitt said they are working on ways to provide and deliver meals next weekend. She said, going forward, the cafe will likely only offer to-go meals or delivery until further notice.

“Given the fact that the state of emergency was announced yesterday (Friday) when I was already halfway done with making dessert for 200, we came up with the plan to have the option to sit still, or take your meal and enjoy it at home,” Levitt said.

Green Fields Market and Greenfield Farmers Co-Op Exchange

According to Green Fields Market Produce Manager Bryan Gilgin, the store has been able to stay stocked despite patrons evidently stocking up on extra groceries the last few days. The store plans to keep regular hours.

Farmers Co-op Manager Jeff Budine said the store will also operate with normal hours, though that could still change. Both Gilgin and Budine said employees are practicing sanitation and health recommendations set by the state.

“The saying used be ‘taking things day by day,’ but right now it’s hour by hour,” Budine said.

Greenfield Coffee and Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters

The counters at Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters that are normally covered by air-pots filled with various aromatic coffee flavors were completely empty Saturday as employees wiped the surfaces clean. The stores are keeping coffee, milk, cream and sugar behind the counter.

“We’re doing everything we can to make things as safe as possible for all of our customers and employees,” Annie Lytle-Rich said.

The stores are keeping up with Center for Disease Control guidelines as closely as possibly, but information is being released by the hour, Lytle-Rich said. Stores suggest using a credit card, or contactless payment on their phone, if possible, instead of cash to avoid any physical contact.

Greenfield Coffee employees were even using a stylus, wiped with Clorox wipes, to have customers sign the I-pad used for credit card purchases, instead of their finger.

Both Greenfield Coffee and all Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters, as well as Northampton Coffee and Tart Baking Co., locations are taking one simple precaution by temporarily refusing to fill bring-from-home mugs or re-usable cups. Everything is being served in single serve, to go cups.

Greenfield Garden Cinemas

Isaac Mass, who owns the Greenfield Garden Cinemas with Angela Mass, his wife, said the theater is watching Center for Disease Control and local public health guidance as it plans to stay open. With major movies slated for upcoming release delayed anywhere from three months up to a year, theaters have had to find alternative options for screenings.

“Tent pole movies are being pushed back, and we are viewing this as an opportunity to bring in some more art house films,” Mass said Saturday.

While a “Quiet Place II” and Disney’s “Mulan” are delayed, Mass said the theater will be screening “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and the 101 Studios film “Burden,” next Friday. The garden will also be limiting sales to maintain 50 percent capacity to allow social distancing. Advance ticket sales online are encouraged to ensure patrons have a seat at the time of their choosing and avoid physical interaction.

“We are considering other options, too, like expanding show times to help disperse the audience over a greater period of time,” Mass said.

The Mass’ are asking those who do not wish to attend a movie at the theater currently, but wish to ensure the theater and other businesses survive this troubled time, consider purchasing gift cards for Easter, Passover, birthdays and other events. Gift cards for the theater can be purchased online and never expire.

Local restaurants

While some local favorite food joints will be closing for a week or more, other locations will keep their stoves hot, for now.

“We’re open for our regular hours right now,” said Village Pizza Manager George Gioules.

He said the store was considering implementing a take-out only policy. He said Village Pizza receives a significant number of take-out orders normally, and that business did not seem to slow down over the last couple of days.

A notice on the door of The People’s Pint this weekend announced that as of Sunday, March 15, it would be “closed until further notice” due to concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant was open for take-out orders Saturday, and Patrons Sue Bradford and Dawn Jenner stopped in to purchase gift cards to support The People’s Pint before it closed temporarily.

“We know they’re coming back and we’ll be coming back, too,” said Bradford.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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