Social distancing forces local restaurants to make tough decisions

Grocery stores have been packed as people stock up on food amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As recommendations for avoiding the illness continue to tighten, there were will be fewer and fewer restaurants open.

Restaurants that are open are operating differently.

“It’s scary,” said Frank Winlow, owner of The Point in Raleigh.

He said that he’s struggling with no longer being able to provide a dine-in experience for customers.

“It’s completely understandable, but I don’t know what people are going to do in the industry,” he said.

Carolina Theatre

His employees are preparing to make deliveries and take carry-out orders instead.

Chain restaurants are also closing dining rooms to limit person to person contact.

Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s will offer service through drive-thrus and walk-in for take-out orders.

Starbucks customers can still walk up and place an order at the counter and order through the app, but they cannot stay in the cafes after receiving their food or drink.

Coronavirus money

Niall Hanley owns several restaurants in the Raleigh area, including Morgan Street Food Hall.

The food hall will be open for curbside carry-out, but the dining room will be closed.

“It’s the hardest thing I had to do in my life,” Hanley said.

He said he expects the hospitality industry to take a huge financial hit.

“We’re looking to find out what aid and assistance is going to be available,” he said.

Business owners say making plans to ensure employees continue to get paid isn’t easy.

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“I don’t really have one, I hate to say,” Winslow said. “I wish I could. Unfortunately, I don’t have the financials to do that. It would literally bankrupt me.”

Hanley said his businesses would give food to staff.

“We’re going to feed them for free as often and as long as it takes,” he said.

Published at Tue, 17 Mar 2020 02:38:29 +0000