Fort Worth Restaurant Owners Reopen Doors Friday, Hoping To See Business Return

May 1,2020

See full story by Jason Allen here

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — Mary Perez didn’t expect anyone to show up for dine-in lunch Friday, the first day Texas restaurants could allow customers to sit down inside again.

Just minutes after opening though, the first party of three walked through the door at Enchiladas Ole.

“It’s as safe to come and eat here, as it is to go to a grocery store,” she said. “Probably even safer.”

With hand sanitizer on the tables, disposable menus and tableware wrapped in plastic, Perez was among the restaurant owners hoping to see business return, while acknowledging there was little money to made with capacity limited to 25%.

The reopening, she said, was more about offering work to her employees again.

A large number of the lunch orders coming in Friday were for delivery and to-go.

It was the same at Panther City Barbecue, where most lunch customers — outside of a large gathering of firefighters — were skipping the picnic tables and taking their lunch in bags.

In downtown Fort Worth, Sundance Square was still closed and patios at nearby restaurants were fairly empty.

Retail stores, often dependent on foot traffic, events and conventions in the city, were also quiet.

Sarah Howell had her mask on at Willow House Boutique cleaning windows as she opened the clothing store for first time in weeks.

“We’re still doing curbside pickup,” she said. “And we’re still doing online stuff, but kind of seeing how it goes with keeping the store actually open.”

A few doors down at Houston Street Toy Company, owner Lindsey Ross was waiting until Monday to open her doors.

She hadn’t received any financial assistance yet, and needed to figure out if she could financially afford to reopen.

On Friday, she was taking videos of toys, thinking of ways to continue to generate interest online, until customers grow more comfortable with the idea of going back out.

“Hopefully people will find their way through our social media spots,” she said. “I don’t think anybody has the answers. I wish I did, but we really don’t know, and we’re not going to know for a while.”