By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) – Newbury Street is quiet this Election Day. There’s not a lot of restaurants open due to potential safety concerns related to the election results. Jerome Bergere of La Voile said it’s business as usual in a COVID-19 climate, which means business is very slow. “Trying to stay open as long as we can,” he said.

Bergere said Governor Charlie Baker’s new stay-at-home advisory coupled with his executive order for restaurants and other venues to close at 9:30 leaves a bad taste even for this boutique French restaurant. “I will feel very bad to tell my guests to leave by 9:30 which is pretty early on weekends but we will follow the guidance,” he said.

Jerome Bergere prepares a meal at La Voile on Newbury Street in Boston (WBZ-TV)

On Monday, the governor announced that people would need to be off the streets and in their own homes by 10 p.m. to help stop the spread of the virus. But many patrons say social distancing at restaurants is safer than folks gathering in people’s homes. “If any of my friends if they felt a little under the weather, they would call us and say we are not coming over tonight don’t want to take a chance,” patron Burgess Nicholls said. “Fine. We understand. But we’re not going to sit up their and knit.”

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Governor Baker reinforced his position. “Our view was better to do something now that we consider to be targeted intervention, and I get the fact that it’s disruptive especially to folks in the restaurant businesses, but better to send a message now to stop gathering in big groups,” Baker said.

The governor’s stay-at-home advisory will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Friday. Places like La Voile will have to stop serving tables at 9:30 p.m. They can still do take out, but that’s not enough for elegant restaurants like these.

“There’s not much difference between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. We are doing everything we can. We have air purifiers and dividers everywhere,” Bergere said.

Paul Burton

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