Restaurants struggle to stay open

Vernon restaurants and the Vernon Plaza movie theater are facing an unprecedented challenge after Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order closing them. Gov. Abbott, on Thursday, issued an executive order that will close restaurants and schools, among other things to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

During a news conference at the state Capitol, Abbott announced an executive order that will limit social gatherings to 10 people, prohibit eating and drinking at restaurants and bars while still allowing takeout, close gyms, ban people from visiting nursing homes except for critical care and temporarily close schools. The executive order is effective midnight Friday through midnight April 3.

Edgar Huerta, of the Brown Cow, said it would be a big challenge as the restaurant attempted to remain open, serving only to-go and takeout orders.

The number for Brown Cow is 553-3322.

“We will deliver to people. We will try to stay open as long as we can,” he said. “It is a difficult situation for everyone.”

A similar situation faces the Rusty Spur, where owner Jay Young, addressed the City Commission on Wednesday as they discussed a emergency declaration.

“If it comes to doing just take-out, carry-out only, I don’t know of a restaurant that will survive,” he told the commission. “You’re looking at 15 percent of your gross sales. This is going to kill us anyway, no way around it. I project we are going to lose 50 percent of our normal sales.”

“If you’ve got 20 restaurants in town, if they do shut down, I’m going to say 15 of them will not be able to financially reopen a month, two months later,” he said. “Its going to be suicide to some of these bars and restaurants, they won’t be able to reopen.”

Mark Farr Nash, of the Vernon Plaza, said the closing was only temporary and stressed that the theater would reopen.

“I want to stress that this is temporary and we would appreciate all of you making sure that people know that.  We hope that two weeks is enough time for Texas to get ahead of the medical needs of this serious situation. Thanks everyone for your support and understanding as we hunker down and prepare to ride this out. I’m confident that Vernon will rise to this challenge and we’ll pull together as a community. Our small-town values and our sense of community are what’s most important at this time. When we re-open, we’ll still have I Still Believe and we’ll also have Onward! This is good news, because these are two great movies that will be a welcome change from the news of the day,” he said.

Vernon Mayor Doug Jeffrey urged residents to support local restaurants during the pandemic.

“I’m encouraging everybody go out and eat – but take it home. For the restaurant owners, If you have wait staff and you can use them for delivery service or something along that line – I know it’s not ideal, but from my perspective, it gives them something,” Jeffrey said.

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