In declaring a state of public health disaster, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday an executive order that closed schools, restaurant dining rooms and bars statewide as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
However, many local businesses are keeping their doors open by different providing ways to serve customers without them setting foot inside the business.
"The State of Texas is at a pivotal moment in our response to COVID-19, and it is imperative that we act now on preemptive measures to slow the spread of this virus," Abbott said. "One of the most effective ways we can do this is by promoting more social distancing and ensuring Texans avoid large group settings such as bars, restaurants, gyms, and schools where the risk of spreading COVID-19 is high. Today’s executive orders are precautionary measures that are in line with guidelines from the CDC and they will strengthen Texas’ ability to safeguard our communities and respond to COVID-19. As Texans, we must continue to work collaboratively to slow the spread of this virus and protect public health."
The order goes into effect at midnight, March 20 and ends on April 3, but is subject to change, a news release said.
“This executive order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” it read. “This executive order does not mandate sheltering in place. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.”
Prior to the announcement, some area eateries began offering curbside service, drive-thru pick up and delivery options.
“We also own and operate the local food delivery service Lily’s Pantry, which is also delivery.com now, they just went through a switch,” Dilly Deli owner Megan Glisson said. “It has a lot of the local restaurants on there for delivery, and we have codes available to make it free, so no one has to worry about fees. We’re trying to help as much as we can and as many people as we can.”
Kirby’s Korner managers shut down their dining room earlier in the week, offering pickup options for customers.
“We’re still doing the drive thru as we always have, and we just started implementing a curbside pickup section where people can order online through our app quickly and easily,” owner James Jensen said. “We’re doing what we can to get through this tough time.”
The deli has undergone various cuts resulting from waning business, Glisson said.
“We have pretty much had to let go of just about all our staff, unfortunately,” she said. “We’ve cut back hours and next week, depending on what the grand announcement from the county is, it will probably just be my husband (Mike Schillinger) and I, and we won’t be able to serve breakfast anymore. It’s really hard; bills are coming in, loans are still coming in, and nothing money-wise is coming in, so it’s impacted us a great deal.”
The business owners were forced to decide between paying taxes and the wellbeing of her employees, Glisson said.
“We’re doing the best we can,” she said. “The decision I have to make for (April 20) is ‘do I pay my comptroller sales tax, or do I give that money to employees for their final paycheck?’ I’m choosing to give people the money they need.”
Glisson plans to rehire most of the employees the deli has lost in the future. However, recovering from the economic damage COVID-19 has wrought will be a long process, she said.
“Slowly, we intend to try and add on (staff) as much as possible and add them back as quick as possible,” she said. “But I’m probably gonna have to get out of a hole, so it’s gonna take a long time.”
Starting Monday, The Dilly Deli will serve up food from 10 a.m to 2 p.m., and apart from no longer offering breakfast, the menu remains unchanged, Glisson said.
“If they want to call in and do curbside pickup, call in the order, let us know it’s for curbside pickup and when they get here, call us again and let us know they are here and we can take payments,” she said. “We can take payment as we go back and forth kind, of like Sonic.”
Kirby’s also offers delivery options through DoorDash and delivery.com .
“I want to thank our customers for their support and let them know that we’re here for them,” Jensen said. “As more announcements are being made and more restaurants are having to close because they don’t have the ability to do takeout and drive-thru — we’re here for them as well. Seguin is a strong community, and we’ll get through this together.”
The Dilly Deli and Kirby’s Korner both offer patio seating at their locations. However, that may change as more information from Abbott's announcement unfolds.
“I’m still trying to find out based on what was announced if I’m allowed to have patio seating or if that’s considered an extension of my dining room,” Jensen said. “Worst case scenario, I’m just gonna leave the gates to the patio unlocked, and if patrons want to come through the drive-thru and park their car in the parking lot and walk onto our patio and sit down, I’m not gonna stop them.”