Some El Paso businesses allowed to operate at 75% amid increase of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Per Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order last week, some businesses in Texas and in El Paso, such as restaurants, gyms and retail stores, can operate up to a 75-percent capacity starting Monday.

This comes as El Paso County is starting to see another slow increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Restaurants have been hit particularly hard and welcome the opportunity to have more capacity in their restaurants.

One such business is local Italian restaurant, Trattoria Bella Sera. Owner Guliana Leardini told KTSM 9 News that as business rebuilds, customer and employee safety will be top priority.

“We build it. We build it on a daily basis by respecting the COVID enforcement, which is the masks of course, and then the six-feet between the tables and sanitizing stations,” she said.

It’s been a learning process to get business back and rolling amid the pandemic, Leardini said.

“It’s taken so many lives, it continues to expand in our community and devastating families,” she said. “So we want to prevent that problem from happening, not only to our guests but also our employees. We have to keep them safe and secure.”

Leardini said business is doing much better, compared to the start of the pandemic in March.

“Being able to employ back all my employees and more, that gives me a great sense of achievement because I think the people that are able to generate income from here and then go on and spend it in other places, so it’s another way we sustain each other,” Leardini said.

Take-out and curbside options have helped business come back tremendously, she said.

“People really appreciate it, and discovered they can still have a great meal a few minutes away and they can take it home and dine in the safety of their home,” said Leardini.

Even though cases are slowly on the rise again in El Paso, City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said people can still support local businesses while staying safe and following guidelines.

“There’s a lot of families that need the work and need their business, so we all need to contribute to that and coming as a community and coming together in those ways, health wise and economic wise, in many ways we will be able to continue puling through in the pandemic in a better position,” Ocaranza said.

Ocaranza also told KTSM that gatherings from the Labor Day weekend play a factor in the rise of cases being reported in El Paso.

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