HENDERSON (KTNV) — Some restaurants are getting creative to make money under the latest Nevada restrictions for COVID-19 by offering robust takeout and curbside service.
At Gaetano's Ristorante in Henderson near Eastern Avenue and St. Rose Parkway, owner Nick Palmeri has re-launched curbside service amid the crackdown on coronavirus which has limited restaurant dining capacity to just 25%.
"It's very difficult, you have to get really creative," said Palmeri. "Thank God my family has been in the restaurant business for 38 years and we know a thing or two about being creative."
Palmeri is used to welcoming guests through the front doors, but on Tuesday, he was rushing from the kitchen through the back door to attend to waiting customers in the cars.
It turns out, the hours of preparing authentic Italian cuisine using traditions passed down by his late father is the easy part, but adapting the fine dining business model to fit within COVID-19 protocols while still making money is the difficult part.
But even during the total dine-in restaurant shut down earlier this year, Palmeri made takeout and curbside work.
"We ran a pretty successful operation during that 2-1/2 months and then everything was great for 50% occupancy from May until [Monday,]" said Palmeri.
He says the move kept the restaurant open, his staff on the job and customers happy.
"We were doing it when it was locked down, so we've been coming here since the lockdown and doing curbside," said Bobby Brooks, a regular customer at Gaetano's Ristorante.
Palmeri says the new restrictions are coming at a crucial time of year because the months of November and December represent as much as 25% of his restaurant's annual sales.
The dining room is now capped at 25% capacity and only 4 people are allowed at a table.
Palmeri says that's tough when profit margins are razor-thin.
"The thing is, if there's another shutdown, it's going to devastate our city, the state, the hospitality industry," said Palmeri.
He adds the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is usually the busiest night for his establishment in November and expects more customers will take advantage of curbside for the next few weeks.
Gov. Sisolak's 3-week "pause" will be evaluated to see if current restrictions are having an impact on slowing the spread of COVID-19.