SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Calling in your restaurant order is the new preferred method as Utahns grapple with COVID-19. Utah’s restaurant industry is seeing some dramatic changes.
Summit, Salt Lake, Emery, Carbon, and Grand counties are instituting curbside pickups and to-go orders for all restaurants and bars moving forward and 86ing the dine-in option.
“We are going to be doing to-goes only. Making sure that we can like, keep our doors open as long as possible,” said server Ginger Rodgers with the Rusted Sun Pizzeria.
The Salt Lake restaurant has been around for 21 years, near 2100 South and State Street.
“This is a very trying time. There is a lot of uncertainty going around so yeah we are kind of just taking it a day at a time,” he added. “There is probably going to be like very specific roles for each of us to have and kind of keeping everything separate and in compliance to keep everybody healthy and safe.”
Utah Restaurant Association’s Melva Sine said the industry brings in $5.5 billion to Utah’s economy.
“We talked with the bankers association this morning, they said yes bankers do have contingencies in place and so have restaurant owners talk to their bankers and see how we how to work this out,” said Sine.
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If a statewide dine-in ban is implemented, more 5,000 restaurants will be affected.
Sine suggested, “They can use third party delivery services, they can use curbside services, and those restaurants that have drive-through windows will be allowed to keep their drive-thru windows, but there will be no groups inside the dining establishment.”
The move eliminates most person-to-person contact when food is paid for online or over the phone.
Monday night, restaurants stocked up on to-go supplies so they can be prepared for customers Tuesday.
“We have been forced to scramble and make some difficult decisions,” said co-owner of Trolley Wing Company Jess Wilkerson. “We have decided as a group to try to keep the doors open however we can, and that means to push our to-go orders.”
Wilkerson and his partners have nearly 120 employees to account for. Many who have kids and are concerned about paying bills.
“Just understanding how important this is that we try to contain this now and that the people that are in charge, they are doing the best thing they can and we are all in it together,” he said.
Utah Restaurant Association implores Utahns to make takeout orders and even buy gift cards from businesses for when you’re able to dine-in again.