UPDATE: Monday afternoon, the city of Dallas mandated that all bars must close and restaurants must close for in-house dining (takeout, delivery and drive-thru are still allowed). Read more on the city's actions here.
Sunday morning, the friends I was supposed to go to brunch with bailed on me.
I couldn't complain too much; they're social distancing while the coronavirus pandemic continues.
I went anyway with a last-minute companion, and the restaurant had a few tables filled. I washed my hands after handing the menu to the server and told myself I was supporting a local restaurant in this weird time (while also dining specifically for a review to post this week, admittedly).
With the CDC advising we keep our gathering numbers low, it's not surprising we're getting constant alerts about temporary changes to restaurant structures and events canceling. Just this morning, the folks at Meat Fight canceled its Chicken Thang event set for April, and the folks at Jose sent an email saying they're now open for dinner and starting an “easy style, take-away menu.” The day continued with more and more restaurants announcing changes.
Adam Bazaldua, Dallas City Council member for District 7, has been asking restaurants to close except for delivery — and asking that fees on platforms for delivery are eliminated during this time. Uber Eats announced they're doing such a thing.
While we’re in #COVID19 #StateOfEmergency and asking restaurants to close except for delivery, Asking all deliveries in @CityOfDallas to eliminate #fees that are charged on platforms.— Adam R. Bazaldua (@AdamBazaldua) March 16, 2020
Its the right thing to do! #StandWithServiceIndustry #workingclass can’t always #workfromhome pic.twitter.com/szJ29mNVdp
Former City Council member Angela Hunt agreed with that call.
Dallas must act now. Close restaurants/bars except for take-out service, close schools, implement curfew, discourage going anywhere other than work, grocery, pharmacy. Strong and swift action now will save lives. We aren't first city dealing w/this. Let's get ahead of it.— Angela Hunt (@AngelaHunt) March 15, 2020
Chad West, City Council member for District 1 in North Oak Cliff, addressed people wondering what was going to happen to our local businesses.
Other cities and states have already made the move to close restaurants — in the minutes of writing this story, news came of Denver closing all restaurants and bars outside of delivery and takeout until May 11 (a date that feels so far away, right?).
The Texas Restaurant Association is calling to keep restaurants open:
"As you have contacts across the state, I am writing to ask for urgent support to get the below message to our elected officials. Many state governors are now considering closing all restaurants and bars for two weeks. This would drive panic and complete societal breakdown. We believe we are the best partner to the state and local government and can work with them, side-by-side, to get through this challenging time," wrote Emily Williams Knight, president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association in a mass email Sunday night.
The association is also encouraging people to support restaurants through takeout and delivery options.
It's an unsettling time, and I wish I had all the money and appetite to order from all of our local restaurants. But if we all do it, maybe they can get through — because at this point, I don't think it's alarmist to say this can be threatening to our favorite restaurants.
For restaurants offering to-go or delivery, take them up on it. I haven't been to a grocery store since coronavirus restrictions began, but I don't doubt the people who say it's insanity at most places. So avoid that and support your favorite restaurants while you're being responsible.
As the end of that email from Jose restaurant reads, “We need you to keep the Jose story going.” And it’s not the only one.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.