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One business closes its doors to anyone without proof of vax

NORTH CANAAN — Concerns about COVID-19 and its impact on businesses have created an odd dynamic tension. Community members and business owners are eager to have life return to normal; but at the same time, the infection rate is climbing back up, nationally and even locally.

One small business owner has decided to take a step toward caution with a new rule at his country club and restaurant that all patrons and staff must be able to show proof of vaccination before they can enter. 

“The map indicating the spread of COVID clearly shows that the cases, fueled by the Delta variant, have drastically increased in the Southern states, especially those states with lax mandates,” said Joseph Quattrocci, who is the owner of the Canaan Country Club and its Belted Cow Farmhouse Tavern. He is also the owner of the Wheels of Time vintage auto garage in Pine Plains, N.Y.

“I’ve been watching the maps every day for months and I am seeing the red move north daily,” Quattroci said. “We are very lucky that we are so forewarned.”

Watching the statistics on the state’s COVID-19 website, Quattroci has become concerned at the relatively low percentage of North Canaan residents who are vaccinated. 

As a result, he said, “I felt it was my responsibility to both our employees and guests to establish a stricter vaccination policy.”

He stresses that he is not trying to punish or exclude anyone from coming to the golf course and tavern. He has even gone so far as to create a partnership with Walgreens in North Canaan. 

“Anyone who gets their first vaccination (Moderna) at Walgreens before the end of September will be given either a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant or a free nine-hole round of golf, including a cart,” Quattrochi said.

Although the restaurant policy is that all patrons and staff must be fully vaccinated, exceptions will be made for anyone who participates in the Walgreens partnership.

Incentives or not, there are those who adamantly defend their right to remain unvaccinated. There has been some negative commentary directed at the country club on social media but Quattrochi said that mostly people have been understanding.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said, but added that, “there have been a few guests who are upset with the new policy.”

As has been the case often in recent years, political differences and differing opinions about the vaccine have even interfered with friendships. 

“I feel badly about that,” Quattrochi said. 

No appointment is necessary at Walgreens to get an appointment. Vaccinations are available from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday;  9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then 2 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

The golf course and pro shop at the Canaan Country Club are open Monday through Friday at  8 a.m., Saturday and Sunday at 7 a.m. and on holidays at  7 a.m.

The Belted Cow Farmhouse Tavern has food service Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; the bar is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The menu offers everything from burgers to seared tuna, from crispy chicken wings to a charcuterie board. 

For more information and the full lunch and dinner menus, go to www.canaancountryclub.com.

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