During our summer on pause, tiptoeing through these phases of reopening has been a brutal progression. Restaurants, farms, and producers; owners and employees; patrons and customers, we are all feeling a major displacement from a life that is often spectacular here in the Hudson Valley.
The effects of this pandemic have been felt at The Valley Table, too. Earlier this spring we were compelled to postpone our signature Hudson Valley Restaurant Week event. After this setback, we wanted to return strong and plan an event that would support and celebrate our great local restaurants in a way that would be both socially responsible, but still enjoyable and memorable for patrons.
We came up with Time to Dine, a two-week celebration of Hudson Valley restaurants starting August 17. The event will allow participating restaurants to promote their fabulous offerings, but still maintain the flexibility to tailor the dining experience so that their business and the community can be comfortable. Restaurants will offer dining outside, when possible, up-to-date indoor dining precautions, as well as take-out and family-style packages. There is also a recommended safety pledge for restaurants and staff to follow, as well as patrons, so they, too, can share in the responsibility.
In promoting Time to Dine, our plan is to remind people of our collective love for the community restaurant — but not be ignorant of our community responsibility to make smart decisions, practice safe behavior, and wear a mask. Even if people have been sheltering in place to date, maybe this is the opportunity, for those who are able, to show some support with patronage of these community pillars, whether that means dining at a restaurant or ordering take-out.
While it might not be the big family gathering for Grandma’s birthday, taking the Little League team out for pizza, or meeting friends for cocktails like we’ve done in summers past, this bit of business may be the collective support that keeps these restaurants going until we get back there again.
—Michael A. Martinelli Jr., Group Publisher