Restaurants grapple with new coronavirus restrictions from the Alabama Department of Public Health

Restaurants grapple with new coronavirus restrictions from the Alabama Department of Public Health
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For the rest next few weeks restaurants and bars across the State of Alabama will have to make due without anyone eating or drinking inside their establishments.

"We're hoping that people, after everything has cleared, come out and visit and help the local community recover from this crisis that we're all in," said Kurt Morgenweck, the owner of The Brass Tap in Huntsville.

Morgenweck said that the new order issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health on Thursday didn't necessarily surprise him because of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). However, he said it's especially devastating for new restaurants like his.

"We're still working on developing our brand and our name out there and getting it into the community and getting that reputation that will allow us to make those profits," said Morgenweck.

Normally, on Thursday nights when the weather is nice, their dining room and patios are fairly full and they serve food until 11 p.m. But after Thursday's order forcing them to go to a "to go" style of business, they decided to close at 9 p.m.

Morgenweck said he's seen about a more than 90 percent drop in business since the state started restricting how restaurants can operate.

Across Bob Wallace Avenue, Farm Burger is also dealing with not being able to have customers eat and drink there. General Manager Tara Ledwell said they've already laid 16 employees.

She said about 75 percent of those who have bought food have done so though third-party vendors, like Door Dash.

"Just seeing the drop, especially in the parking lot, it just makes it more real," said Ledwell.

For the customers who are still coming into restaurants, said it's important for the community to step up and support local restaurants who are taking a big hit right now.

"At the end of the day, when this is all over, we want these small businesses to still be around. So we need to rally around each other and be a tight-nit community, like we always have been, and get us through this time," said Kayla Adams, a Huntsville resident and small business owner.

The ADPH said its ban on eating and drinking in restaurants will be in place until April 5. Closer to that date, they will re-evaluate and determine if that needs to be extended.


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