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Caffè Lena Postpones Reopening to Limited Capacity Performances (Updated)

Due to continued concerns over the COVID-19 crisis, the Saratoga venue made the last-minute call on July 10.

Caffè Lena is postponing its reopening on July 14. (Caffè Lena/Facebook)

Sometimes it’s just better to wait. Executive Director Sarah Craig of Caffè Lena, which is celebrating its 60th year of operation in 2020—and was the first music venue of its kind in the Capital Region (and likely, the country) to gain “essential” status during the crisis, allowing it to host fan-less shows and stream them live on its YouTube channel—told Saratoga Living on July 10 that, despite planning on reopening to limited-capacity performances on the 14th, she had decided against doing so due to continued concerns over the COVID-19 crisis.

Caffè Lena’s decision to reopen had been in the works for weeks, with local music blog Nippertown reporting the story first. But Craig said that, with the growing number of COVID cases across the country and the City of Saratoga beginning to close off streets for socially distanced dining, it made sense to postpone the reopening until further notice. On the positive side of things, Craig did confirm that the city was planning on shutting down a portion of Phila Street in the same way that it did Henry Street, to offer surrounding businesses the opportunity to extend dining beyond the sidewalk.

There is still hope for the venue to reopen, though; this is by no means a death knell for the concept. As Craig told Saratoga Living in an earlier interview: “We’re going to start with a capacity of 12 parties [of spectators]. Some couches can accommodate three or four [parties], and then we have small tables that can accommodate two people. It’s a maximum total of 34 [people], which is somewhat less than half of our capacity and also below the state limit of 50. We’ll see how that goes for the first few nights.” And when and if the venue does reopen, there will be plexiglass barriers between singers and the audience.

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Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.

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