EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Restaurants are now forced to reduce their capacity to half, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in the sun city.
On Friday, Governor Greg Abbott ordered all restaurants in Texas to fall back on 50% capacity. Restaurants like Sabertooth are making do with the recent order, while others such as Salt and Honey Café are staying closed just a tad longer.
“There is way less business definitely. People are going out less and staying home. Being quarantined for one reason or another. Our business has definitely been impacted,” Kassandra Maillard, Co-Owner of Sabertooth said.
Restaurant owners in the Borderland are doing the best they can to ensure the health and safety of the public while trying to keep business afloat.
“Not everyone is completely closed and so still having to manage how to keep our business open, how to support our employees, how to give you all the service you need. At the same time, cutting back hours, or cutting back options on the menu. So everybody just appreciates your patience so much,” Maggie Asfahani, Owner of Salt and Honey Café shared.
The City of El Paso said it has a “Covid Compliance Team” made up of members of the Fire Marshal’s Office, Police, Health and Environmental Services. When the team responds to a complaint of a business not complying with the current directive, the City says, “Should a violation be discovered, task force officers may educate the business, warn them of the infraction or issue a citation depending on the severity encountered.”
“People are anxious to get back. They’re anxious to socialize and have some sense of normalcy but we need to do that in the safest way as possible for both our customers and our employees,” Asfahani said.
Asfahani started the “El Paso Food and Beverage Worker’s Fund” with the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation. It contains several donations from the community to help those unemployed because of the pandemic.
“We’re giving out gift cards of $100 to folks so that they can just help make ends meet. Maybe it’ll help with some gas or groceries,” Asfahani shared.
Despite another setback, restaurant owners are focusing on staying safe and keeping staff along with the public healthy.
“From one day to the next, things are changing but we’re really trying to comply as much as possible and health wise, absolute maximum,” Maillard shared.
The City said no citations have been issued so far since the most recent directive came into effect.