By Bill Shields

BOSTON (CBS) — The restaurant business has always been tough yet often profitable to those who could cook a good meal. But COVID-19 is making that hard for all restaurants, especially the small ones.

Rino’s in East Boston has been owned by the same family for almost 50 years. They only have 13 tables.

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Since the closure of restaurants and bars, they started a popular take-out operation. But when restaurants can physically reopen, many owners fear social distancing rules would force them to remove half their tables.

“Right now, any small place, if they’re doing a good take out, that’s the best bet,” said Cheryl Breault, one of the owners.

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Joe Faro owns the popular Tuscan Kitchen in the Seaport. he also owns several smaller places in the region.

Small or large, they face the same hurdles when they’re allowed to reopen for sit-down meals, because of social distancing. ”When you take your sales down by half and your overhead is the same as it ever was, it’s almost impossible to make money,” Faro said.

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Many restaurant owners say public fear, if the public will fear going out to dinner, is also an unknown factor.

Bill Shields