HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Local businesses and restaurants in and around Huntsville are being proactive about health and sanitation amid concerns of the novel coronavirus. They're following the latest guidelines from the state health department and are making big changes to their routines, all to keep customers and staff safe and comfortable when they come out for food and drinks.
Downtown Huntsville Inc. has been holding weekly conference calls with local businesses to collaborate on how to be proactive when it comes to health and safety in restaurants.
“We’re starting to see a lot of people increase their to-go and delivery options," said Downtown Huntsville Inc.'s president, Chad Emerson.
Businesses are doing what it takes to avoid necessary contact.
“Make your payment process and packaging process as touch-free as possible," Emerson said.
Piper and Leaf at Lowe Mill has closed their sitting room out of precaution. The staff is always wearing gloves and they have specific customer contact locations that are sanitized frequently.
“We really need people who can work from home to be stepping up their support during this time," said Piper and Leaf co-owner Connor Knapp.
Straight to Ale has transitioned to all disposable materials for eating utensils, condiments, food and drink to minimize contact. They’ve also rearranged their dining room so that tables and bar stools are six feet apart, and they have a maximum capacity of 50 customers.
Change to businesses also warrants a change throughout our community.
“We have 126 employees we’re responsible for paying every two weeks," said Straight to Ale operations manager Matthew Broadhurst. "It’s important for customers to continue to come out and support the local community, support their neighbors that work for us. We help our community, we could use some in return during this tough time.”
“We're prepped and ready to be able to handle the things that are coming our way, except for if we lose our customers during this time," Knapp said.
Even if you want to maintain distance, there are ways to offer support that don't require exposure. Share what your favorite restaurants are doing on social media. Purchase stuff online. Prebuy gift cards. Order for carry-out and delivery. These are ways to invest in the local economy during a trying time.
“If our businesses don’t survive, the landscape of our society might look really different after the next 60 days," Knapp said.