DC restaurateur: COVID restrictions, inauguration security has my business 'hanging on by a thread'

Inauguration lockdown deals another blow to struggling DC restaurant

Shelly’s Back Room owner Bob Materazzi discusses impact of COIVD shutdowns, security restrictions on ‘Your World’

The unprecedented security restrictions in place for this week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden coupled with the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic have left at least one Washington restaurant “hanging on by a thread.”

Bob Materazzi, the owner of Shelly’s Back Room near the White House, told “Your World” host Neil Cavuto that “the streets are deserted” and “people just don’t come downtown.”

MATERAZZI: We’ve been in protocol one for almost a month now, which means no indoor [dining] and outdoor seating is tentative at best. It’s dependent on the weather, dependent on the demonstrations … In 2020, we lost about 70% of our sales [compared] to 2019, and we’re hanging on by a thread.

We’re getting some government money, but it’s not enough, to be honest with you. We’ve gone from 25 employees down to about five to ten, but we’re still paying rent … we’re still paying utility and [we have] no revenues coming in. So it’s a very, very scary time. I’m willing to bet that when this thing finally ends, a lot of the small businesses in D.C. aren’t going to open up again.

[With] the indoor seating shut down, people just don’t come downtown. The streets are deserted. If you look around us, everything is boarded up. It’s not a very friendly place to come, and I’m not sure when all this is going to turn around. Hopefully, it’ll turn around when the vaccinations are out, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen that quickly. 

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