Death by a 1,000 Cuts: Trying to keep the lights on

As a member of our community and American society as a whole, I appreciate that we need to take the necessary steps to try and keep everyone safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19. At the Harajuku Taproom, we have always taken the trust of our staff and guests very seriously. 

In fact, this past Friday, when we were instructed to reduce our Outdoor Dining capacity to 50% of maximum capacity, we verified that we were already meeting that guideline because of our desire to provide a safe and comfortable experience for our guests.

At this point, with the elimination of Outdoor Dining, I am sorry for our guests who have been finding a bit of a refuge in the Taproom, and at least a temporary break from the almost ever-present weight of the pandemic. And, more than anything, I’m concerned about my team. 

Back in March, we had the promise of a stimulus plan on the way and that made it possible for us to support our team and pay at least part of our rent, even with reduced revenue and reduced staffing hours.

However, at this point, with no forgiveness on our rent, and no stimulus plan or help from the government imminent, I don’t know how I am going to take care of my employees. We had actually just made our first new hire in months 2 weeks ago, and now I don’t have shifts for that new employee. 

At this point, my expectation is that outdoor dining likely won’t be permitted again until sometime in early 2021. 

I don’t know how we are going to make it on Takeout/Delivery alone. We have great support from a fantastic group of loyal customers, but I don’t know if it will be enough.

I am generally a very optimistic person and I don’t give up. So, we are going to roll up our sleeves, get creative and give it everything we have to try and survive this. 

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas or would just like to make a contribution to an employee support fund (100% of which would be shared among our employees), please email me at: 

— Adam Guttentag

Owner, Harajuku Taproom

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