After closing his restaurant on Wednesday so that all staff members could be tested for COVID-19, Denny Tornatore, owner of Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzeria, announced that enough staff results have come back – all negative – to begin serving again. The popular College Park restaurant will open Saturday at 4 p.m.
However, Tornatore said in an email message that he would go back to offering only takeout and delivery for the foreseeable future; the dining room will remain closed. As more staff members get their test results, they will be added back on to the work roster.
One important thing for customers to know: Tornatore’s staffers will be making food deliveries themselves rather than relying on third-party services. Companies like UberEats and Grubhub typically charge up to a 30 percent fee on the cost of an order, even those that offer “free delivery” to the consumer.
(A special dispensation championed by state representative Anna Eskamani allows restaurant workers to deliver food under their standard auto insurance coverage with approval from their insurer.)
“We will reopen doing [for] togo and delivery only for the near future,” Tornatore’s Facebook page announced, “until this spike in cases calms down. We will go the extra mile as normal to insure safety. The decision to close definitely cost us financially, especially during an already trying time, but it was the right thing to do.”
The note adds: “Please be safe. Wear a mask when you go out. We will get through this.”