New Small Business in Bridgewater Responds to COVID-19 Orders

After Grand Opening and Capacity Restrictions, Urgie’s Cheesesteaks Opens Online

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  • The bar at Urgie’s Cheesesteaks in Bridgewater, Virginia. Owner Tom Urglavitch discussed the complications with closing the dining room, stating, “the biggest thing we could do was to promote our new online ordering platform from our website,

    Photo by Tommy Urglavitch

  • Urgie’s “award winning ‘Philly Special,’ with angus sirloin aged no-less than 21 days, fresh bell peppers, mushrooms and onions, cherry peppers, pepperoni, Kraft whiz, American and provolone cheeses on a 12 inch Liscio’s roll smothered in Griffin’s Hot Sauce, a hometown staple.”

    Photo by Tommy Urglavitch

  • (Left to right) Tom Urglavitch’s brother, Steven, alongside Tom and Kitchen Manager Wesley Hall.

    Photo by Tommy Urglavitch

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Danielle Brooks, BCVoice Executive Director

Bridgewater, Va.- With COVID-19 requiring restaurants in Virginia to have no more than 10 persons inside at all times as of Tuesday, March 17, many establishments have switched to carry-out options. This has led to restaurants revising cleaning standards, waiting on government aid, cutting staff and working with lost profits.

Owner of Urgie’s Cheesesteaks, Tom Urglavitch, opened a location in Downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia, in January 2019. Just over a year later, Urglavitch opened a location in Bridgewater, Virginia, on Wednesday, February 11.

The Bridgewater location held a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, February 10.

“We were gearing up to use the publicity of the ribbon cutting and Bridgewater College to have a really busy, fun-packed St. Paddy’s weekend,” said Urglavitch.

Then the Virginia government released the mandate that restaurants could not serve diners.

Urglavitch said, “as both the news reports and business started deteriorating, my brother Steven and I knew we were getting into something unprecedented.”

Before St. Patrick’s Day, often a lucrative holiday for restaurants and bars, restaurants were required to limit their capacity to 50 persons.

Hoping to receive some advice, Urglavitch reached out to his brother’s colleagues in addition to the local health department.

New cleaning procedures were set by Urglavitch, who made the decision to remove all commonly used items from tables, in addition to wiping down surfaces “with a bleach mixture every 15 minutes.” Urglavitch made sure to operate his business cautiously and reduce risks.

On Tuesday, March 17, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam implemented the 10 person capacity policy for restaurants, which is still in place today.

“We were lucky with our Downtown [location] in that we truly already had a walk-up, takeout and delivery service established,” Urglavitch said.

The owner began promoting the online ordering service. “This gave an easy pick-up option for both locations and delivery for our downtown location.”

As capacity limits declined, this meant Urglavitch would have to cut staff.

“We made a promise to our staff that we would keep as many of them as possible for as long as possible.  We asked them to apply for unemployment compensation as soon as they lost even one shift,” Urglavitch said.

As a new business, full staffing for Urgie’s was not reached for almost one month. Normally working with eight to ten employees on weekends, Urgie’s will now only staff two.

Urglavitch stated he is waiting on the government stimulus package to determine what the next steps for his business will be.

According to Fortune, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin plans to have small business loans in the making this week.

“Our goal is to get every single employee back to work ASAP,” said Urglavitch.

With a new order by Northam on Monday, Virginians are ordered to stay home except for needing food, supplies, or exercise, reported the Hill.

Orders can be placed for Urgie’s Cheesesteaks at the Downtown Harrisonburg or Bridgewater locations on the restaurant’s website, www.urgiescheesesteaks.com.