Chelsea Pratt has worked a dozen Mother’s Day at Sedgley Place in Greene, first as a waitress and now as the dining room manager. None of those past holidays has prepared her for this year’s Mother’s Day celebration.

No dining room, no 12-hour grind to prepare and serve the customers arriving Sunday at the restaurant known for its five-course, fine-dining experience. This year it’s just takeout service.

With the dining room closed and fewer meals being served, Pratt said she expects to only work a four-hour shift.

“This will be the first Mother’s Day I have ever experienced with my children,” Pratt said. “A blessing in disguise for me.”

No day is bigger or more profitable for restaurants and florists than Mother’s Day, but those traditions will be different for lots of people in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurants, florists, stores and even churches have changed their business models to help families honor mom on her special day Sunday.

With restaurants prevented from opening for sit-down service, Sedgley Place has switched from a five-course destination eatery to an upscale establishment offering curbside service.

“This is a difficult year for us with takeout being the thing to do,” Pratt said. “It is uncharacteristic for us. This is not what we’re known for.”

The restaurant, located in a house built in 1786, has made the switch to takeout work for the past several weeks, changing its menu weekly to provide variety for its customers.

For Mother’s Day, pickup times will be staggered to keep customers from gathering at any one time. The usual three-hour window to pick up orders has been extended from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Mac’s Grill restaurant in Auburn won’t see the usual high volume sales for Mother’s Day, but the staff is hopeful the takeout business keeps everyone busy.

“It’s very different, but we’re doing OK,” manager Bri Barlow said. “We’re glad to see our customers come in for takeout. We’re doing the best that we can right now.”

While many businesses are scrambling during the pandemic, Blais Flowers in Lewiston is enjoying one of its best Mother’s Day ever. The florist has added more delivery drivers, inside help to greet customers and hired additional employees to work in the greenhouses to meet the needs of her customers.

“We’ve been crazy busy for the last few weeks,” Blais owner Billie Jo Brito said.

That wasn’t the case when the pandemic first hit. Weddings, graduations and other special events were canceled, but Brito said she was afraid to give up. People slowly began sending flowers to one another, with messages like “Can’t wait to see you,” “Can’t wait to give you a hug,” and “I miss you.”

She is seeing similar messages on the Mother’s Day cards accompanying the flowers and plants.

“They know this is the best way to go,” Brito said.

The one problem she has had is finding flowers from her usual vendors. The limited availability is forcing her to encourage her customers to buy plants grown in her greenhouses as a Mother’s Day gift.

Meanwhile, Ann’s Flower Shop in Auburn began taking orders last week, but just reopened Monday with no flowers. It has also struggled to find flowers from its usual suppliers in Holland, Canada and California. A few shipments have arrived this week and another is expected Saturday, but it’s been a struggle.

” We have so little to offer,” Cheryl McKeone, one of the owners, said. “Most of the flowers don’t come from the United States. But we’re taking advantage of the local growers and greenhouses that have wonderful plants to sell.”

Hanging baskets have been popular for Mother’s Day, McKeone said.

The grocery stores, which will be open on Mother’s Day, have not added additional flowers or done anything different for the holiday.

“It’s really just business as usual, as much as it can be,” Bruce Cantin, the manager for Shaw’s in Auburn, said.

A decades-long Mother’s Day tradition for many families will end this year. Since 1946, Hodgman’s Frozen Custard in New Gloucester has opened its windows for the season on Mother’s Day with hundreds standing in lines for their first taste of the year. The business announced on its Facebook page that it will now open June 3.

The Facebook announcement from the popular establishment received more than 60 comments, 125 shares and 460 likes.

“Better safe than sorry. This has been our Mother’s Day tradition for 30-plus years, but can’t wait till you can open,” Brigitte Whitten wrote on Hodgman’s Facebook page.

“Hodgman’s has been a Mother’s Day tradition since I was little and now my son joins me every year. Sad to hear your opening will be delayed but so so grateful to hear it won’t be much longer,” added Patience Marie Lussier.

The Catholic Church will be giving Mother’s Day blessings Sunday after the 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. parking lot masses at Geiger in Lewiston or at 6:30 p.m. at the beginning of the Month of May Rosary and Benediction service in the parking lot of Holy Family Church.


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