WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - New guidelines are changing the way businesses in Wichita County will operate as officials try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Bars will close down and restaurants will move to drive thru and to-go orders only, and it will severely impact many small businesses.
“I have 35 employees that need to feed their kids so it’s kind of a soul crushing situation. It’s very difficult,” Erik Scott, owner of Highlander Public House.
Like every restaurant across Texas, the Highlander will no longer serve people inside.
“We’re just trying to figure out any way to get you food and not put you in a crowd and keep everybody safe,” Scott said.
Erik says to-go orders have never been their main seller, but that it’s what they will need to do now.
At Hook & Ladder, they’ve cut their days and hours, now only open Saturday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“A lot of other folks, you know, today’s news was devastating to them,” Jon Reese, co-owner of Hook & Ladder said.
They made that decision Wednesday ahead of the mandate by Gov. Greg Abbott.
“We felt like people can walk in or drive up, and we’ll still be fine with the social distancing that we need to do,” Reese said.
Jon feels optimistic and in this downtime their staff will be working on other projects.
On Friday night, places only selling liquor will be forced to close.
“The actual bars, like us, we don’t have those options, so it’s going to be extremely difficult with zero revenue coming in,” Stacy Hawkins, co-owner of the Broken Tap said.
Right now, Stacy’s focus is on her employees making sure they will be okay.
“What can we do to make sure they still have some income coming in for the next couple of weeks, or though like I said, possibly months.
We don’t even know at this point,” Hawkins said.
For business owners in Wichita Falls and across the state, everyone will be venturing into uncharted waters.
“My fear being in the restaurant business my whole life is that all these mom and pop shops, these single owner businesses that are shut down, I mean, I think we would be lucky if we get 50 percent of them back,” Scott said.
The new rules go into effect Friday at midnight and is effective until at least April 3.