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Thursday, March 12, 2020

San Antonio Chef Urges Locals to Keep Dining Out to Keep Restaurants Alive

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 1:15 PM

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As fears surrounding the coronavirus grow each day, so does apprehension to visit public spaces like restaurants.

While many San Antonio eateries have already adopted precautionary safety measures to protect employees and customers, local chefs like Jason Dady expect many restaurants to feel the economic pinch of the virus — struggling to stay in business or permanently closing their doors — in the coming months.

Dady took to the San Antonio Restaurants Facebook group Wednesday night, urging people to continue supporting local restaurants by dining out and ordering take-out.

“This is a very very serious time for restaurants and bars,” wrote Dady, who owns several local restaurants including Range and Tre Trattoria. “There will be many many casualties in the hospitality industry… Support who you can, when you can.”

The CDC has not found evidence of the coronavirus being transmitted through food or packaging but urges food industry professionals to wash their hands with soap and water regularly to prevent the virus from spreading via touching surfaces.

In response to the virus, several food delivery services like Postmates and Favor have introduced contact-free delivery options for customers looking to avoid human interaction. Restaurateurs like Dady also plan to roll out new meal delivery plans while implementing strict safety standards, requiring all food handlers to use latex gloves while working with food and washing hands with soap and water every 30 minutes.

In an industry that largely runs on small profit margins, the coronavirus could prove a huge threat to newer brick-and-mortars like Chamoy City Limits. Chamoy City Limits began serving its chili and raspas from a food truck in 2012 before opening a restaurant in late 2019.

“Everything was going great until a few weeks ago,” Chamoy City Limits owner Ana Fernandez said. “We still have our loyal customers, but business has gone down significantly, by nearly 40 percent.” 

Though Fernandez takes pride in her shop’s perfect health scores, she plans to limit risk of exposure by moving business operations to a food truck in the coming weeks. The restaurant’s small crew will park outside the shop and stop by OP Schnabel Park to serve their raspas, frito pies and ice cream treats. 

“We’re planning on using new touchless payment systems like Venmo or Apple Pay so there won’t be concerns about sharing surfaces,” she added. “This is really tough for local businesses, but hopefully people will know that we are still here for them.” 

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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