Customers, owners adjust to new Dallas County rules banning dine-in restaurant service

Restaurants and their loyal customers throughout Dallas County did their best on Tuesday to adjust to the temporary ban on people eating in dining rooms due to the coronavirus outbreak.

County officials instituted the closure of dine-in restaurants effective 12 a.m. Tuesday, but allowed for the businesses to offer takeout or to-go pickup.

The owner of Italia Express in Oak Lawn used the take-out window for the first time in the eight years he’s been at that location.

“Without us staying open there’s no way anyone else here is going to make any money. So as much as I want to stay home with my daughter someone has got to pay the bills,” said owner Bubba Dervisevic.

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Donna Barnard owns Crickles And Co., a breakfast and lunch café, located down the street. Like other restaurants in the neighborhood, there’s signs in the windows letting folks know they can still get food.

Barnard supports the mandatory restrictions, even though it will likely hurt business.

“I would feel horrible if someone got sick horrible my staff or anyone,” Barnard said. “We’ve cut the staff a lot, but trying to give the staff enough hours to keep their bills paid a little bit.”

The neighboring town of Addison was hit especially hard by the order. There’s nearly 200 bars and restaurants in the town’s 4.4 square mile radius.

Addison Mayor Joe Chow owns a restaurant and told FOX4 in a phone interview he opposes the county’s mandate.

Parking lots in Addison were noticeably lighter during the lunch hour Tuesday.

“We actually have our health inspectors going out to restaurants one by one to make sure they’re aware of what’s going on. What they can and cannot do,” said Wes Pierson, Addison City Manager.

Pierson said he’s focused on generating as much business as he can for the town — reaching out to folks via email and social media to let them know most restaurants are still open for takeout.

The Addison town council will hold a special meeting later this week to discuss options, with the hope the state and federal government will help. Pierson said it’s too soon to tell what, if anything, the town can do to soften the financial burden.

“This requires a lot of people to come together to make a difference and we’re just trying to do our part,” Pierson said.

Restaurant owners said they will try to remain optimistic.

“We’ll survive. It’s the only thing we can do,” Barnard said.


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