Michael J. Hazlewood, co-owner of Clayton’s Wood Boat Brewery, is tired of seeing the restaurant’s tables sit empty during what’s typically the busiest time of the year. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

CLAYTON — Co-owner Michael J. Hazlewood is tired of seeing the tables at the Wood Boat Brewery sit empty when this is normally the busiest time of the year.

He’s had enough and has vowed to open his restaurant no matter what the state says; and many restaurant owners in the north country and the Syracuse area are ready to do so too.

“We are going to rebel,” he said Thursday night after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reneged on a plan for Phase II to reopen after midnight.

They are ready to defy the state, threatening to finally open after their businesses have been ravaged by being closed for the past two months due to the coronavirus.

Mr. Hazlewood wasn’t surprised to find out on Thursday night that Gov. Cuomo decided Phase II of the north country’s reopening wasn’t going to happen Friday.

Earlier in the day, he said that 15 restaurateurs told him they would join him in reopening their businesses. Since then, the Wood Boat’s Facebook has been lighting up with more committing to join in the cause.

“There’ll be a lot more,” he said.


Michael J. Hazlewood, co-owner of Clayton’s Wood Boat Brewery, is tired of seeing the restaurant’s tables sit empty during what’s typically the busiest time of the year. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Without knowing what the state might do next, Mr. Hazlewood is ready to lead the charge.

He’s organizing a demonstration for next week to protest the way that north country businesses have been treated by the governor. He would not say when the restaurants would open, only that it was going to happen.

“There’s strength in numbers,” he said Thursday afternoon.

He’s frustrated by Gov. Cuomo’s unwillingness to be there for north country businesses. They hoped the governor was going to at least allow outdoor seating to happen.

“He’s treating us like we’re New York City,” he said, referring to the pandemic hitting New York hard while this area only has a few coronavirus cases.

Phase II of reopening was to begin Friday with retail, hair salons and furniture stores getting the green light. Restaurants have been slated for reopening in Phase III.

“People want us to be open,” he said, stressing he would only open if he knew it was safe for people.

Understanding local restaurant owners’ frustrations, Scott A. Gray, chairman of the Jefferson County Legislature, sent an email earlier in the day to the governor’s office echoing the frustration of restaurant owners. “I have spent the entire day responding to angry, anxious and unfairly treated business owners and media regarding the lack of guidance from the state. Frankly, it is not fair to these folks who have abided by our request and done so patiently...until now!” he wrote in the email.


A group of people sit outside Clayton’s Koffee Kove on James Street in the village Thursday afternoon. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Lori Durand, owner of the Koffee Kove in Clayton, said she’s equally frustrated about not having her dining room open.

Her cafe is only serving takeout meals and through a drive-up window. She has a few tables set up outside her James Street cafe for anyone who wants to use them. There’s no waitress service out there, but she provides hand sanitizer and disinfectant.

The longtime restaurant owner doesn’t fear any repercussions from the state for putting the tables out there. It’s for families, she said.

“They can have a picnic out there or whatever,” she said.

She hasn’t heard anything at all from the state about the guidelines for when she can reopen.

Will she need plastic barriers to protect customers? Will there be 50 percent seating? Or 25 percent? She’d like to know.

“I got absolutely nothing from the state,” she said.

She doesn’t know how she can prepare for that day if she doesn’t know what the state expects, she said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(51) comments


I get a kick out of the tough guy pose. Go get em tiger!

Holmes -- the real one


Charlie McGrath

1.25 million people get killed in car accidents every year. Instead of taking risks we should lower the speed limit to 20mph and we would save 100s of thousands of lives. That's what we have done here but it has been all or none. Unfortunately the collateral damage with such a drastic reaction was not considered by the "scientists". Social, economic, educational, spiritual damage and lives lost as a result of the cure will be measured somehow. That is also the science. The gathering of the evidence. How long must we keep digging to get out of this hole?


Go ahead and run red lights, too. Probably nothing will happen, and you'll get where you're going sooner. Don't ask yourself, "What's the worst that could happen?" Assert your rights as a free American. And everyone else can just look out for themselves.

hermit thrush

what are you smoking? u.s. car accident deaths are currently about 35,000 per year, and that has come down a lot in the past 50 years because we took measures to make cars safer. also too, car accidents aren't contagious.


We're close, real close to getting in a position to start "normal" again; what ever the "normal" means. Millions have sacrificed & a hundred thousand+ dead & the guys who own Upstate NY restaurants don't like being treated like NYC.

Makes it really tough to feel sorry for them or patronize their establishments once the new "normal" arrives.

I'm unemployed with no benefits & waiting to go back to work; the sooner we whip COVID19 the sooner I get a paycheck but you don't hear me complaining.


you will never beat COVID19 - you might be unemployed but are surely getting unemployment plus 600 or you would be complaining - I know people have died but people have to get back to living. If you do not feel safe stay home. 100k is a far cry from the over 2 million projection of lives being lost.

hermit thrush

the two million figure was a projection of what might happen if we took no public health measures against the virus. guess what's going to happen if we "open up" without it being safe to do so?


You beat COVID-19 by developing a vaccine. If people were smart enough to take precautions as they should the process of normalization would occur faster. It's too bad they sent so many relief checks to dead people instead of sending some relief to restaurant owners.

Holmes -- the real one

Sadly, we still will face a hurdle even after a vaccine is developed and fully tested.

Children are at risk of developing MIS-C -- even if they only experienced a completely asymptomatic infection with Covid-19.

It is particularly worrisome that we have so many people here who 1) want to openly defy appropriate safety measures, 2) who, like this "miki" here, are aggressively provocative, and 3) oppose vaccinations of all kinds based on conspiracy theories.

These are the people who will ultimately be responsible for carrying the infection to young children.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)


Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)



You are correct bonafide Holmes regarding vaccine but a vaccine would be a step in the right direction. That's why the experts call this the novel covid-19 - there are many things that are different about this virus that we haven't experienced with others.

Holmes -- the real one

Agree completely, rockloper.

A very important place to start and a leap in the right direction.

We are learning a lot from this virus.


Minder, what we're going thru is exactly what is happening in Israel right now. The ultra orthodox jews are a minority and yet their hate filled agenda is slowly taking over the country. Israel will destroy itself from within. The sad part of it is our religious right is contributing millions to their cause thru the jewish lobbies in America. The groups have the same end game - armageddon. There are right wing pastors that lead tour groups in Israel telling their "flock" that this is where armageddon will take place. What's happening over there now bolsters the theory jesus was a Roman fabrication aimed at making the militant jews of the time more peaceful. In the old testament god was a murderous thug inciting jews towards war against the Romans and those before. Contrast that to the completely opposite teaching of the new testament. I wish Jackie was posting, I'd love to hear her take on this.

Holmes -- the real one

And let's not overlook that NNY360 tip of the hat to good old buddy Scott A. Gray with his, "...unfairly treated business owners."


I'm surprised they didn't get squinty jeff graham in there as well.


I agree, people should be allowed to expose themselves to the virus. Lock hospital doors and refuse to treat those who contact it because of their own ignorance. Perhaps this is a good way to make America great again.


Mike, we have always supported you and will continue to do so. If you open, we will come. Hang in there!


I never in my life thought I would see the Country I grew up in, change the way it has.

Fear over a "FLU" has caused mini-dictators to rise !

Paranoia to climb.

News is finally being released that mortality form this "pandemic" is less than 1%.

Yes, it is sad that some have passed...But yesterday, while walking into the Dexter Post Office, I saw a lady put on her mask, then gloves, and then covered herself in a plastic wrap !

If you are that fearful and that paranoid - STAY AY HOME YOU NUT !

I took off my mask and entered the Post OFFICE and stood as close to her as possible.

After being served, she ran from the Post Office.

It kinda made me feel "Normal" again.🤣

Holmes -- the real one

"Miki" --

Absolutely nothing of what you describe as your behavior here can even remotely be categorized as normal.

What you describe as your feelings following the incident would, to a professional, be described as disturbing.

This serves as a fact check to this comment.




Not sure where you are getting your data:

Cases and mortality by country

Country Confirmed Deaths Case-Fatality Deaths/100k pop.

US 1,721,753 101,616 5.9% 31.06

United Kingdom 270,508 37,919 14.0% 57.03

Italy 231,732 33,142 14.3% 54.84

France 186,364 28,665 15.4% 42.79

Spain 237,906 27,119 11.4% 58.04

Brazil 438,238 26,754 6.1% 12.77

Belgium 57,849 9,388 16.2% 82.19

Mexico 81,400 9,044 11.1% 7.17

Germany 182,196 8,470 4.6% 10.21

Iran 143,849 7,627 5.3% 9.32

Canada 89,976 6,982 7.8% 18.84

Netherlands 46,152 5,922 12.8% 34.37

India 165,386 4,711 2.8% 0.35

China 84,106 4,638 5.5% 0.33

Turkey 160,979 4,461 2.8% 5.42

Sweden 35,727 4,266 11.9% 41.89

Russia 379,051 4,142 1.1% 2.87


“I took off my mask and entered the Post OFFICE and stood as close to her as possible.”

You seem so very proud of that. I’ll never understand people like you. What you did was cruel and ignorant but you probably feel quite manly about it. This is America




Rather thoughtless and unkind to the postal workers, too.


Miki, you have every healthcare worker, family member who lost a loved one, and person who survived COVID, weeping.


What a cretin.


So harassing a lady made you feel more normal?

Why is how you feel more important than the health of people around you.

Besides the fact there is an order out to maintain a 6 foot gap and what you did

maliciously is harassment would you do that to a 6'2" man?

I have worked in healthcare for over 40 years. I can

tell you first hand, this is not the flu!

I do agree with the Stay Home comment if you can.

Or stay 6" away.

Common sense, courtesy, respect. Where did these go?

Holmes -- the real one

[thumbup] Well said.

What many of the belligerently maskless do not realize (or perhaps don't even care about) is the fact that those with immune suppression (e.g. s/p transplant), those with cancer and being treated with chemo, those with CF or other chronic lung conditions, OR those who care for individuals with these conditions in their home -- have to be scrupulously careful to avoid exposure that could be life threatening.

My impression (from the wording and the behavior) is that this "Miki" is a woman. A man behaving like this would have probably been confronted and/or reported to the police. Obviously, no woman would be likely to harass a 6'2" man out in public in this way.

Hopefully, this was reported and there is video camera footage of this offender.





hermit thrush

i also never thought i would see the country i grew up in change the way it has, and i am sorry to say, the change is due to people like you.

keyser soze

Miki, Miki, Miki… trust me, you are “normal” in the same way Trump is a “stable genius.”

What can be said that hasn’t already been said in response to such a profound lack of awareness? Suffice to say your jaw dropping ignorance is no doubt fueled by your equally ignorant, mentally unstable cult leader’s constant public display of uncontrolled hatred toward common decency. While the thoughtful among us are aghast at your uncivilized behavior, I have no doubt he would be very proud.


So threatening others makes you feel "normal" again?

Please seek professional mental health treatment.


Miki - your action fits that of a younger self consumed individual who's all about you.. with little regard for others who may have personal reasons for their fear... and you mock that... I hope God judges you better than me... Regardless of your age...grow up.. and find something other than Fox and Friends for your information..


You are one sick ****.

I hope, after you pulled that out of where ever, you washed your hands for a full 20 seconds.

Have you ever seen someone die of of COVID-19? Keep playing the fool. You may.

Mortality is NOT less than 1%. Even before today, over 100,000 people have died in the US alone. That is EVERY SINGLE PERSON LIVING IN ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY.

Did you get your MD (Minor Divinity) from Trump U?

What are you like when you're not "Normal"? Should we worry?

Do you do birthday parties for small kids too?


Miki, that was wrong of you. It was rude, and disrespectful. What ever happened to kindness and good manners? The right wing is getting more low, common, and vulgar every day.


I wish someone would display your kind of behavior to me. They'd get a swift punch to the face.

Holmes -- the real one

Which is why I'm thinking that this "Miki" is a female (or maybe even just a troll provocateur).

Only a woman would imagine that she could get away with acting like this in public (without anyone intervening, that is.)

Of course, if some guy did that a response such as you suggest would be almost reflex.

If this really happened, I hope there was surveillance camera footage of the incident and that the perpetrator would be found and arrested.


Let's all try to be smarter than this. The almighty dollar is not as important as anybody's life. There is still virus floating around. Do not take anything for granted.

I empathize with the folks that are losing business, but be smart, they will come back soon enough. Wood Boat is a great place, but it won't get any business if a case of Covid-19 is traced to it.


Report the facts: this area "only has a few" coronavirus cases? There were 72 confirmed cases in Jefferson County alone as of the day you reported this story. That's several dozen more than "a few".


We had 72 documented cases but the actual number of cases is probably 3 times that.

People with no symptoms or just mild symptoms never got tested.


72 out of 185,000 residents, time for businesses to just reopen and say the heck with you Albany.


Dear Mike Hazelwood,

Rest assured that if you defy state mandates pertaining to your restaurant--Wooden Boat Brewery:

(1) I will not patronize Wooden Boat Brewery ever again.

(2) I will end doing business with your other business-- Hazelwood Mechanical.

You do nothing to advance public confidence.


Your call, no one is forcing you to ‘patronize’ any restaurant... Some people are sheep, some people are sheepdogs....


And some can only be described as "Nature's mistakes."


Good, that means more room for everyone else


Yeh, yeh, yeh, don't tread on me. I hope nobody goes to your dive just like squinty eyed graham's rat infested business. I think they should make a flag that says "Don't Read To Me" and exchange for the tread ones. Just tell them they're new flags and those clowns wouldn't know the difference.

Holmes -- the real one

For the background of that flag:


May 7, 2016 - Ivy League economist ethnically profiled, interrogated for doing math on American Airlines flight.




Sad isn't it? I honestly feel trapped. I've put a lot of time, effort, and money into making my homestead a place for sustainable retreat for future generations of my family. And yet I find myself being surrounded by despicable ignorance more and more. I hate to admit it but I think I'm being overwhelmed by bunker mentality. I'm hoping there is enough young blood in this country to boldly confront the right wing and restore a responsible democracy.

Holmes -- the real one

All I can say is I really feel your pain.

And it makes me angry.

Every day.

And the anger makes me work harder to defeat it.

There are kindred spirits out there -- but there are days when I feel overwhelmed with all the hatred, prejudice, ugliness, and stupidity.

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?

Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?

I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’

I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest dark forest

Where the people are many and their hands are all empty

Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters

Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison

Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden

Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten

Where black is the color, where none is the number

And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it

And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it

Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’

But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall


It is sad! But try not to be too discouraged. Keep standing strong for decency. There are more decent people among us than not (fingers crossed!). But those proud of greed and cruelty seem to have a big bullhorn right now. Hang tough, do good. It can't hurt and it might just turn the tide.

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