Tarrant County

Multiple North Texas Restaurants Closing Temporarily Over COVID-19 Cases

NBCUniversal, Inc.

On the verge of a new year, some restaurants in North Texas have announced temporary closures due to the rise of COVID-19 cases and the impact on staff.

Jon Bonnell, the owner of Bonnell’s Restaurant Group, announced on Facebook Tuesday one of his restaurants will be closed for the remainder of the week. Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine will continue to offer curbside orders, according to Bonnell.

“It’s a staffing issue. We’ve got several people testing positive. Even the ones testing positive and aren’t showing symptoms, you got to stay home. There’s just no choice, no option there,” he told NBC 5. “At a certain point, we looked at it and said, 'you know, we can’t even provide the service that we need to customers who would still like to come in.'”

Bonnell isn’t alone. This week, Pizza Verde also announced it would be closed until Jan. 2.

“One team member has COVID, while two others just happen to be regular sick. Prioritizing the health of our team and our customers has to come first, but we'd be lying to pretend it isn't scary to lose a week of sales after only five weeks of being open,” the announcement on Facebook read.

Similarly, Easy Slider announced on Instagram its Grapevine location would be closed for a few days due to COVID-19 exposure within their team.

“We’ll be back once everyone is negative and past quarantine protocols, hopefully before 2022,” the post read, stating their Deep Ellum location is still running at 100%. A handful of truck events were canceled, including Double Wide New Year's Eve.

"We are bummed to report that our Grapevine location will be closed for a few days due to COVID exposure within our team. We’ll be back once everyone is negative and past quarantine protocols, hopefully before 2022," the post read.

This week, UT Southwestern released its latest modeling projections which say the omicron variant now accounts for 90% of the cases in Texas and surrounding states. Dr. Gregory Phillips, a Fort Worth based physician and former president of the Tarrant County Medical Society, said data shows the variant is a milder illness overall but can be more contagious.

“But it can still be a severe illness, particularly in people who have not been vaccinated. There have been people who have had the omicron variant who have been sick enough to be in the hospital,” Phillips said.

Vaccinated or not, he is urging everyone to stay vigilant and keep safety precautions in mind especially as many plan to partake in New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“If you are in a large crowd and you’re not sure of the vaccination status of the people you’re with, you should practice wearing a mask. You should social distance. You should be very, very cautious when you go out at all,” Phillips said. “Even if you’ve been vaccinated, you still need to be prudent as far as wearing a mask, staying away from people as much as you can and take the normal steps that we’ve been recommending for the past two years.”

For restaurant owners already dealing with challenges in labor shortages and supply chain issues, Bonnell said they are prepared to make tough decisions once again.

“We were already a little pressed for staffed in the industry overall, and this certainly doesn’t help. Asking and talking to restaurant owners and managers, it’s a really tough spot to be in right now,” he said. “Mom and pop’s across the city and state are all still struggling a little bit from supply chain issues, staffing issues, so buying gift cards for something in the future, those are great ways to support your locals. We’re still curbside service, to-go service, all that kind of stuff.”

He said they plan to reassess where they are next week with staffing at Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine.

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