HOUSTON - Not all restaurants are choosing to reopen their dining rooms.
Governor Greg Abbott announced that Phase One of reopening Texas would include allowing restaurant owners to return to dining service with a 25 percent capacity cap on the number of diners at a time.
However, some local restaurants are choosing to continue exclusively with to-go and pickup service.
Ray’s BBQ Shack on Old Spanish Trail posted on Facebook that despite having permission to reopen, the restaurant would stick to takeout services until further notice.
“The health and safety of the people in our communities and staff are of utmost importance to us. This pandemic has hit our surrounding communities harder than others, and we feel it’s our duty to provide the safest environment possible,” the post reads.
The owner of both Sonoma Wine Bar locations is also choosing to keep the dining areas off-limits. Farrah Cauley says business has been down 75 percent. She also temporarily shuttered the Upper Kirby location but does not feel comfortable reopening eat-in areas to increase profits the safety of guests and staff.
“For the safety of our employees and customers, we have decided not to reopen dine-in service…We will continue with our curbside pickup and free delivery within a 3-mile radius. We are excited to see everyone. We miss you more than words can express,” she writes in a social media post.
Cauley says she plans to reopen the Upper Kirby location for to-go orders but would like to see an extended period of decline in local COVID-19 cases before allowing dining-in.
Nearby, the Dessert Gallery is also keeping its tables and chairs stacked and pushed away. The small eatery often gets packed with families looking for a mid-day treat and late-night cravers searching for something sweet.
However, owner Sara Brook says concerns about health and safety and handling the logistics of how many people are seated isn’t worth the trouble. Her bakery has pivoted to creating new products like “Cookie Survival Kits” that have helped keep business going. The store also has several reminders posted that customers will need to wear masks to be allowed inside for pickup orders.