The coronavirus pandemic has left thousands of restaurants closed or drastically curtailing their services. Dine-in is banned just about everywhere in order to enforce social distancing practices. This has put an untold number of Americans out of work for an unknown length of time. Those who are still working at restaurants are now front-line troops fighting a virus.
But some restaurants are adapting and offering different services, both to survive and continue serving their communities. Take this quote, from a story in the San Antonio Express-News:
“I have to stay positive. I know people need to eat. And that’s our profession, to feed people. We’re just doing that in a very different format now.”
That’s from La Gloria restaurant owner Johnny Hernandez. San Antonio is a major tourist town, but tourism is pretty much gone now. The city is under stay-at-home orders, leaving restaurants open but only allowed to provide take-out meals. Unless they start selling groceries, which La Gloria has. Several other locals have followed suit, including mainstays like Mi Tierra. Sangria on the Burg offers “quarantine packages” that include milk, eggs, rice, and toilet paper for $25.
These establishments probably don’t have the long lines that we all now routinely see at our local major grocery store. Along those lines, some of the ethnic grocery stores remain fully stocked and lack the long lines, too. Sysco, which provides supplies for restaurants nationwide, started adapting its services to restaurants last week to help them retool to become little grocery stores while they fight to stay afloat. Sysco says it’s donating 3 million pounds of food to help out. Gov. Greg Abbott has made allowing restaurants to sell bulk items official policy during the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.
A full list of San Antonio restaurants that are known to have started offering groceries is at the linked story — a story that provides information that’s useful and helpful to people who are dealing with this new quarantined world. It’s worth checking if restaurants in your area are evolving their services to meet needs as these have. A California restaurant owner has turned his businesses into drive-thru grocery stores. They will still have to lay off staff, but by adapting, maybe not as many. Their businesses will still be hurt, but maybe not as deeply.
It would be nice to see more media decide to be helpful and not divisive, as the Express-News has in this story. Stories blaming Trump because some guy ingested fish tank chemicals are not helping at all. I’m not going to link such stories, we’ve all seen people arguing about them on Facebook and Twitter. Which also isn’t helping.
And please keep supporting your local restaurants if you’re still picking up a paycheck. Far too many of our fellow Americans aren’t, at least for a while.