ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The struggle is real for employees of restaurants in the orange zone.

The iconic Highland Park Diner in Rochester sits at the corner of South Goodman and South Clinton Streets, unfortunately in the dreaded orange zone.

“I love this diner. This is the best diner in town I think,” said waitress Summer Nevis of Brighton. She is disappointed and worried to hear that the diner now falls under the orange zone COVID-19 restrictions.

“I was a little depressed as well as worried that there won’t be any income coming in,” said Nevis. 

The restrictions order non-essential businesses to close in the orange zone for a minimum of two weeks. Restaurants cannot offer inside seating. However, they can offer outdoor seating, take-out, and delivery.

“I gotta tell them just don’t come into work for two weeks or however long it’s going to be. It’s just not fair,” said Highland Park Diner owner Van Zissis.

He says he got the news when the governor made the announcement on Monday. 

“It was very frustrating," said Zissis. "It’s frustrating for us because I also sent back deliveries; we sent everything back because we’re not gonna need it.”

The owner of Highland Park Diner also owns another diner, so he will have about 25 employees affected by this change.

A handful of employees will stay on for take-out service. Nevis feels blessed to be one of them, but the mother of three will still take a hit, especially since her husband also has a job negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“For to-go people, usually don’t tip and as a waitress we live off tips. That’s how we survive,” said Nevis.

Highland Park Diner closed indoor service at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday.

You can still call ahead for take-out.