By Maria Young, Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Matt Welsch, owner of Vagabond Kitchen in Wheeling, said he typically does several thousand dollars’ worth of business on New Year’s Eve. Last week, he shut the doors instead.
“We did nothing,” Welsch said. “Considering where everything’s at and our [statewide COVID-19] numbers are continuing to skyrocket upwards, we were closed.”
With profits down 70%, it was the grim end of a year so horrible that he compared the brutal layoffs of staff to amputations during hypothermia.
“You start to lose your limbs because … you’ve gotta take care of your core,” he said.
So word of a packed house to ring in the new year at The Greenbrier, the resort owned by Gov. Jim Justice, left a particularly bitter taste in his mouth.
“As the chief dude in office saying, ‘This is what we need to do to keep our place safe,’ and your own business isn’t following those guidelines? That looks pretty crappy,” he said.
Fury over the crowded celebration spread through the state’s struggling restaurant industry faster than a fire in a greasy kitchen…