06/02/2021, 10:23 PM EDT
Updated on:06/02/2021, 10:23 PM EDT
A Monmouth County pizza shop owner was able to keep his business open during the pandemic. But he’s now struggling to stay in business.
Many companies across New Jersey were forced to change their business plans when the COVID-19 home stay regulation was implemented. Restaurants have been forced to switch from food services to take-away and al fresco dining.
“We put every dollar we had into this outdoor area. It was literally something that was just a last hope, ”says Vinny Ferrara, owner of Delvetto Pizzeria & Pub.
Ferrara’s restaurant opened just before the pandemic broke out, crippling businesses across New Jersey.
“We were able to make takeout, but that’s not enough to pay the bills. We literally crawled, tried to pay the bills and earned absolutely nothing, ”says Ferrara.
Ferrara says the restaurant got something of a lifeline in June when both Neptune Township and the state approved outdoor dining and entertainment through November 2022. Delvetto has shifted again and added outdoor performances.
“I’ve probably reached out to all of these – probably over 100 different bands, local bands. ‘Hey, do you want to play in my parking lot?’ “Says Ferrara.
The “Tiki Lot” was born. But Ferrara says Neptune Township will lift all outdoor entertainment permeans from June 6th. Outdoor dining permits will be revoked until Labor Day. The permits were all temporarily granted during the pandemic to help businesses stay afloat.
“It’s the only thing that keeps us alive and together,” says Ferrara. “We fight and fight every day just to pay the bills.”
Some customers say they prefer to eat outdoors, especially since COVID-19 is still a threat in the state.
“I’m not going to feel comfortable being inside at this point,” says Red Bank’s Sarah White. “It seems like a real step backwards.”
Other customers say the open air concerts brought the community together.
“A lot of our neighbors from all over the area would meet here and the kids would eat pizza, they would have live entertainment,” says Jill Tramontano of Neptune. “I am very disappointed. I think it was a bad decision on Neptune’s part. “
Ferrara says that if the permits are revoked, he may have to fire some employees as they expect smaller crowds to eat.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to the ward and business administrator for comment but received no response.