CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on businesses of all sizes, from national brands to mom and pop operations, with the restaurant business especially hard hit.
As the pandemic forces the state to put restrictions on restaurants more and more have been forced to close their doors forever.
“It devastated the restaurant industry,” said Coastal Bend Restaurant Association President Kathy Snapka.
A Yelp survey says more than 60% of pandemic related restaurant closures are permanent. Locally, NY Joe’s closed its doors earlier this month, while the Crescendo Cafe closes November 1.
“When restaurants can’t make it, it doesn’t just affect where you can get your favorite food, it affects the entire community,” said Snapka. “We’re very, very concerned.”
Snapka, who also owns Snapka’s Drive-In, says pre-pandemic, Texans got more than half their food from restaurants. Those numbers have since dropped significantly.
Currently, Texas restaurants are allowed to open at 75% capacity as long as COVID-19 cases in the community are manageable. If coronavirus cases make up 15% percent or more of all of a county’s hospitalizations, restrictions force them back to 50%, like what’s happening in El Paso.
Snapka says she and other owners keep a close eye on case numbers.
“We watch those numbers every single day to make sure the community is spread is not such that’s going to make us close down,” said Snapka.
While Snapka is saddened by restaurants like NY Joe’s and Crescendo Cafe closing, she says restaurateurs are an optimistic breed, and believes many new places will open once there’s a vaccine.
She also says that people can do their part by choosing a local establishment over a national chain when dining out.