To go out or stay home is the decision North Texans face as the expiration date for Governor Greg Abbott’s Stay-at-Home order approaches. Restaurants are readying their dining rooms while the community weighs the potential risks and benefits.
Patrick McGlone is general manager of The Tipsy Oak in Arlington. He has plans in place to stick with the 25% occupancy cap.
“We’re going to allow four or five tables on the inside. We’re thinning out our barstools,” said McGlone.
As his team prepares, McGlone understands some of his usual customers might not be ready just yet.
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“There’s going to be a segment of the community that’s extremely apprehensive about opening and cautious and will stay home,” he said. “There’s other segments of the community that are ready to go out.”
Throughout North Texas, people have already made up their minds and not wavering on their decisions.
“I feel pretty comfortable being around people and I’m ready to have some closer contact,” said Dallas County resident Jimmy Gallarda.
“I think we’d rather wait. We’re not quite ready to sit in a restaurant with a bunch of people yet,” said Desiree Aprekuma, also a Dallas County resident.
Two days in a row, Dallas County reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases. In Tarrant County, 61 new cases were reported Wednesday.
Still, some people like Dan Branscome said he isn’t worried. In fact, he’d even be comfortable if capacity were increased to 50%.
“I am ready to get out the restaurants,” said Branscome. “I think the restaurants can’t make any money unless they’re at least at 50%.”
For others, fear of getting sick still lingers.
“We’re probably going to wait, just because we haven’t been sick yet and so I don’t want to risk it just yet,” said Alexis Hilderbrand.
Desiree Aprekuma was out in Dallas County exercising with her young twin boys. She says she needs to see more data before she feels comfortable enough to venture out into restaurants or shopping malls.
“I’m just looking for reassurance that we’ve flattened the curve and maybe a little bit closer with more testing and closer to a vaccine to feel more comfortable,” said Aprekuma
McGlone said he respects each person’s decision. He said he’s doing all he can to reopen and stay open.
“We’re going to be very diligent with what we need to do so we don’t get back in a spot where we need to dial business back again,” he said.
The second phase of Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas is expected mid-May.