The Junction’s Struggle with COVID-19


We felt somewhere between frustrated, pissed off, and helpless…” – Leroy and Jane Perry, owners of The Junction

“It was nice to still have the option to get food from there, but it was not the same after Covid.” – Lynnette Deatte, Jay Town Clerk

Covid-19 has caused more than 60,000 small businesses to permanently close around the United States as of August. Many of these closures are because of lack of promised government grants that never came. Some small businesses though, like The Junction Restaurant in Troy, have managed to stay open without the help of a government grant, though the price of staying open in times like these has called for some regulations and guidelines to be adopted.

The Junction Restaurant, owned by Leroy and Jane Perry of Glover, opened its doors again on September 11th, 2017. Before Covid, running the restaurant required a lot of hard work by its employees and its owners put in lots of hours a week. When the Covid crisis hit, The Junction, the main source of income for the Perry family, went from a full service restaurant to a take-out window only overnight. They went from 17 employees down to 5, but they never closed the doors, and the town of Troy watched and waited for its beloved restaurant to get back on its feet.

In order for a small business to apply for a government grant, the business would need to lose 75% of its regular monthly revenue. The Junction’s worst month was a 49% loss. Because of this, they could not apply for a grant. From March 19th, 2020, until the governor allowed restaurants to open to 25% capacity for indoor dining, The Junction did strictly takeout. There was a lot of stress during these times. “It was very hard. The three employees working at a time were serving takeout to over 100 customers a day on average.” Says Jane Perry, owner of The Junction.

During this different and difficult style of business, the Vermont governor signed a new law, Act 69 of 2019, which banned the use of single use styrofoam and non compostable containers. While great for the environment, they are triple the cost of standard take-out containers, putting the cost to keep the restaurant running even higher. The employees are required to wear masks and gloves for 8 to 12 hour shifts almost every day. Employees were not allowed to let anyone inside of the building during takeout, which was a really big disconnect from the usual way of doing business. The employees didn’t get to see their regular customers.

Despite all of the negative effects of the Covid regulations, there were a few positive experiences the restaurant saw during the take-out only phase. Community members and friends got into the habit of buying each other gift certificates, and the local bank bought lunch for other local businesses in neighboring towns. People seemed to be going out of their way to help others in the difficult times that they were in. Things started to change when the governor allowed for the restaurant to open to 25% in house capacity, with restrictions of course. Tables had to be 6 feet apart, everything had to be frequently sanitized, single use menus and condiments, and a logbook of anyone who entered the building had to be taken. After a couple of months, they were able to increase their capacity to 50%, still with restrictions. This is how it stands today.

Thankfully, The Junction was very fortunate. Many other businesses around Vermont and all of the United States have had a much harder time than The Junction did. From a lack of or inability to do business and pay the bills, to not receiving government grants, to plenty of other reasons, many small businesses have sadly had to close their doors for good. The Junction was fortunate in that it never lost business entirely. They were just one of the lucky ones to have made it this far because of their loyal customers and their hard working employees despite the difficult times.