Restaurants face uncertainty with new surge in COVID-19 cases

Robert C. Williams

The Texas Restaurant Association says they are concerned with the rise in cases but feel better equipped now with the procedures they have utilized this past year.

AUSTIN, Texas — Restaurant owners in Central Texas have faced all kinds of struggles this past year and a half, and now some are concerned about the newest surge in cases.

“I think where we’re at right now is a little bit of anxiety and a little bit of concern, as we do see some of these COVID-19 numbers increase,” said Kelsey Erickson Streufert with the Texas Restaurant Association.

Streufert said they do have more hope with this current surge in COVID-19 cases, due to people being vaccinated and restaurants now knowing the best procedures.

“We know what the best practices are,” said Streufert. “We know how to keep folks safe when they’re dining in our restaurant, even when there’s COVID.”

Under Gov. Greg Abbott’s current order, it is up to each restaurant to decide their own COVID-19 policies. Streufert wants customers to respect their choices when it comes to masking.

“We’re all tired of our masks, we’re all tired of COVID,” she said. “I completely understand that. But the reality is we are not through this pandemic yet. There are still some health risks, particularly children, who can’t get vaccinated yet.”

She said take-out orders have remained strong throughout the pandemic, in addition to the number of people dining out at restaurants now reaching pre-pandemic numbers.

“So that’s great because, obviously, we’ve had a year where most restaurants have seen no profits and much less revenue than they’re used to,” she said. “So we kind of need that everything approach to really get us back to a strong place heading into next year.”

As restaurants find ways to adapt during the pandemic, they are just continuing to take it one step at a time.

“We’re kind of returning to that grit and that determination and that feeling of, you know, this isn’t exactly where we’d like to be with the numbers, but we know what we’re doing and we know how we’re going to get through it together,” said Streufert.

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