Restaurant industry gearing up for ‘monstrous hit’ as COVID-19 continues to spread


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — For now, many restaurants remain open as coronavirus continues to spread across Tennessee, but that soon could change.

“If you want Peg Leg Porker, you can get it delivered or come pick it up,” said Carey Bringle.

Peg Leg Porker is usually crowded during lunch, but with coronavirus spreading the lines have dwindled.

“Right now we have very few patrons,” said Bringle, “This coronavirus has really scared a lot of people off.”

With fewer people showing up, business is taking a hit.

“We have probably lost $40,000 plus in private events and catering in the last two weeks,” said Bringle.

With the new cases of COVID-19 popping up each day, the entire restaurant industry is monitoring the situation closely.

“It is a monstrous hit and it is happening all across the country, it is pretty devastating,” said Mike Kelly, owner of Jimmy Kelly’s Steakhouse, “It is going to be tough for a lot of operators to get through this.”

Mayor John Cooper requested restaurants limit regular maximum seating to under 50 percent, capped at no more than 100 individuals.

In some restaurants you can see extra safety precautions being taken, as tables and chairs get an extra wipe down.

“We are cleaning every surface every chair, we have hand sanitizer out,” said Bringle.

While some companies send workers to work from home, Bringle says the restaurant industry can’t do that.

“A normal office worker can work from home and still be employed,” said Bringle, “Service workers, if they shut us down or we have to shut down because of lack of business, those people are sitting at home with no paycheck and that is a tough thing for anyone to face.”

With no end in sight, Bringle says tough days remain but he will do all he can to help his employees.

“We are trying to make sure our people are taken care of and for now that is our first priority,” said Bringle.

Most patients with COVID-19 have a mild respiratory illness including fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Tennessee Department of Health strongly encourages Tennesseans to wash your hands often with soap and water and to not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

The CDC recommends that organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 10 people or more throughout the United States.

High-risk individuals are defined as adults over 60 years old or people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions such as: Heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease.

The Tennessee Department of Health offers a COVID-19 Public Information Line at 877-857-2945, with information available daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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