On a cold December night, the sound of music warmed up the inside of a Greenwich Village institution that has been silent since March.
Marie's Crisis Cafe opened its doors Monday night for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The opening itself had been in the works for two months, with management making sure they did all they could to be COVID compliant.
That includes only allowing a total of 15 customers at a time, greeting patrons with temperature checks at the door and placing plastic partitions between tables.
"We needed to figure out how we could do it with the amount of space we actually have," said pianist Kenney Green. He said that no orders would be allowed at the bar, with drinks coming from table service only. The bartenders will also be protected with plexiglass along the bar — the same protections for whoever is playing the piano, and the singing servers as well.
"When our singing servers would like do a numbers, they'll sing behind (plexiglass), still masked," Green said.
Patrons are encouraged to sing along while masked, too. There is a filtration system installed along with UV air purifiers on the floor around the bar.
"We closed when everyone closed, mid-March, and we did lose one of our waiters to COVID that very first week," said manager Randall Taylor.
The establishment is finally reopening at a very uncertain time in the city, with coronavirus cases across the state (and the nation) higher than they've ever been. But this musical bar is just hoping to spread a little much-needed holiday cheer, but do it safely.
"We just decided to keep moving forward with the opening, because it took us two months, we didn't just decide last week," said Taylor. "We thought we should be open for the holiday season, it's a wonderful time."
The management said that if the situation worsen in the city and they are told to close down once again, they will. But they added that they will be better prepared with the precautions to open up, whenever it is safe to do so once again.