As fears of COVID-19 spread across the nation, Van Alstyne business owners did their best to carry on, albeit with new procedures in place.
On Tuesday Lone Star Food Store, the convenience store at 990 W. Van Alstyne Parkway that is home to the TexaKona Coffee Lodge, Mi Taco and Subway, closed seating in its dining areas as a precaution. The restaurants remained open for carry-out and drive-thru orders.
Jafar’s Mediterranean Grill, 240 E. Marshall St., made a similar decision, temporarily switching to delivery and curbside pick-up only.
“Right now it’s just everybody taking it one day at a time,” Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carla Smith said Tuesday. “If it’s mandated that the businesses have to close, that’s going to be extremely tough financially on all of them.”
According to Smith, all of the chamber members that she’s been in contact with remained open as of Tuesday, though some had reduced their hours.
In order to keep their facilities safe, many were keeping a close eye on capacity and making sure patrons maintain as much distance from each other as possible.
Local restaurants have placed additional emphasis on online or call-in orders for pick-up. Unfortunately, many cannot offer delivery because they simply do not have enough employees.
While adhering to local and national guidelines regarding COVID-19, Smith is encouraging the public to support local businesses as much as possible during this crisis.
Larger chains have more resources to withstand the current situation, but smaller entrepreneurs will likely suffer the most. If projections of a month’s long crisis come to pass, the effects could be devastating.
“These businesses are trying to hang on by a thread because they can’t afford to close,” Smith said. “It’s going to be tough for them to make it through this financial crisis if they have to close their doors.”
The chamber’s primary mission is to help its members, but in times like this, it is also looking beyond that to support the community as a whole.
Smith has taken to social media to promote what local spots are offering and encourage the public to order from them.
“We are trying to support everybody as best we can,” she said.
As of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control was recommending no gatherings of more than 50 people.
Over the past several days, larger Texas cities including Dallas, Austin, and Houston, had ordered bars, dine-in restaurants and other entertainment centers closed. No city in Grayson County had taken that step yet, though various agencies were monitoring the situation closely.