Hudson Valley Restaurants Celebrate Reopening With Time To Dine

Jaime E. Love

HUDSON VALLEY, NY — Nearly 200 eateries that would have participated this spring in Hudson Valley Restaurant Week will instead take part in a new event Aug. 17-30 offering the region’s residents the opportunity to help support local restaurants as they work to reopen after New York’s new coronavirus crisis — whether ordering take-out or dining in.

“Restaurants are the lifeblood of our community and need our patronage. Consumer confidence is low right now, and some people are hesitant to venture out,” Mike Martinelli of “The Valley Table” said in an announcement about the new event, called Time to Dine.

Restaurant Week for spring 2020 was canceled in mid-March as the outbreak began to expand. On the day the state shut down restaurants and bars, Rockland County, the site of the region’s first new coronavirus death, declared a state of emergency. Westchester County, the site of the state’s first intense cluster, did as well.

At that point New York had reached 950 confirmed cases, and the plan was to use social distancing to slow the speed with which the virus was spreading to prevent crashing the healthcare system. By the time the outbreak peaked in New York a month later, there were almost 19,000 people hospitalized in the state with COVID-19.

The cumulative total since the outbreak’s beginning is now 397,649 confirmed cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

Along with special offers and promotions from participating restaurants, Time To Dine will also feature a daily social media winner. Prizes will range from restaurant gift cards, to event tickets and more. Diners will simply need to post a photo of themselves at a participating restaurant or the meal they got from take out, tag the restaurant, and use the hashtag #TimeToDine. Winners will be chosen on a random basis from all social media posts.

“We wanted to create a dining event that had the excitement of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, but also the flexibility to allow people to engage with restaurants in a manner they are comfortable with, whether outdoor or indoor dining, take out or family style meals,” Martinelli said. “Many crave the sense of comfort and a ‘return to normal feeling’ that eating at restaurants had for them.”

Martinelli said it’s not just about comfort, but safety for customers and staff. “We are asking both sides to make a Safety Pledge and do the best they can to be exemplary.”

Go here for a list of participating restaurants.

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This article originally appeared on the Nyack-Piermont Patch

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