Chatham pizzeria pays it forward

Pie-Zano's pizza (Photo courtesy of Pie-Zano's via Facebook).

A popular pizzeria in Chatham has opted to temporarily close-up shop due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but not before thanking some of the frontline workers within the community.

Paul Mollica, owner of Pie-Zano’s Authentic Italian Pizza, said the location officially closed to customers on Monday night with the intention of reopening on April 6.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make but I believe we made the right one,” said Mollica in an interview with Blackburn News.

Pie-Zano’s first announced the closure on Facebook. The post also thanked the “selfless heroes who are still required to work during the coronavirus crisis.”

After deciding to close, Mollica said they took stock of their supplies and wanted to turn the unfortunate circumstances at their business into something positive by paying it forward.

On Tuesday, Pie-Zano’s staff started using all of the products they had in stock to make as many pizzas as possible and give local police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and staff at the hospital in Chatham a free dinner.

Under Ontario’s list of essential workplaces, restaurants and food facilities are still able to operate after 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday so long as they are only providing take-out or delivery. However, Mollica said he has been in close contact with relatives in Italy and is heeding their advice.

“It’s not a good situation there. They’re warning us ‘don’t take it lightly as we did. Stay inside, stay safe,'” said Mollica. “You watch it on the news, you hear it on the news, but when you hear your own relatives crying… it’s a whole different story.”

Mollica said although they hope to reopen on April 6, it depends on the COVID-19 situation.

“We’ll see [customers] hopefully when all this is over,” he said. “We’ll still be the same Pie-Zano’s.”

A couple of other eateries in Chatham, such as Steve’s Pizzeria and Andy’s Place, have also temporarily closed amid COVID-19 concerns.