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Downtown Bozeman businesses adjust to new Board of Health restrictions

“This has been a very emotional time for our small business...”
Posted at 8:45 AM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 10:45:39-05

BOZEMAN — When you walk into the Cateye Cafe, you don’t get the sense that you’re walking to a restaurant.

It feels like you’re coming home.

At the very start of the pandemic, MTN News talked to the head chef and the owner of the Cateye Cafe, Kevin Caracciolo, after the Gallatin City-County Board of Health ordered restaurants to close dining service and operate as take-out only.

“Today we did $229 dollars in sales. Who am I going to pay?” asked Caracciolo in March in front of the Board of Health.

Nearly 8 months later, the Cateye Cafe is standing strong.

Even with the newest round of regulations from the Board of Health that requires restaurants and bars to close by 10 pm and limit capacity.

“Originally yeah, we were all nervous and scared and weren't sure what was going to happen. And then people relaxed a little bit, maybe a bit too much since it’s spiking again,” said Caracciolo.

Ellie Staley with the Downtown Bozeman Association says businesses will indeed feel some impact by the new restrictions.

But says people in the community stand behind some of the Bozeman staples like the Cateye Cafe.

“This has been a very emotional time for our small business, there’s no doubt about it,” said Staley.

“I think we are seeing the restaurant and bar industry affected. We have seen a few closures happen. I don’t think that we’re expecting any more any time very soon because of the resiliency of our restaurants and our bars.”

And the new restrictions might be affecting some business on Main Street more than others.

“We seat fewer people obviously, and so yes it hurts, but at the same time, we do have a smaller staff so it’s not going to affect us too, too much,” said Caracciolo.

“Yes the daily revenue is not as big, but you can control that with control of your labor.”

“I think what we’re seeing some of these restrictions and really Coronavirus, in general, is affecting businesses very differently. So while some businesses are very much thriving, some are struggling,” said Staley.

And some, like the Cateye Cafe, are hanging on, with mask and big smile on their face.