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“I don’t think we could survive if it happens again”: Some restaurant owners concerned by recent COVID-19 surge

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 11:15 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to surge in the Brazos Valley, some restaurant owners say they are concerned about making it through.

Debbie Rodriguez owns Casa Rodriguez in Downtown Bryan. She says they have noticed an increase in people taking to-go orders, rather than eating inside.

“I see a lot more people being cautious again, and wearing masks. I myself wear a mask again. It’s kind of really scary,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says a big part of her restaurant being able to survive the last year-and-a-half has been the community.

“I don’t think we could survive if it happens again or if there’s a shut down,” said Rodriguez. “I mean, the community is awesome they support us, but it’s the consumer that is going to be the ones to keep us going.”

Wade Beckman, owner of Amico Nave in Bryan, says even he too is concerned as he sees trends going in the wrong direction.

“We thought things were getting better and then it got a little worse. I think they got a lot better for a while and we didn’t really expect it, so it’s a it’s a bit disturbing to see it rolling back in,” said Beckman.

Governor Greg Abbott said he will not implement state-wide mandates or shutdowns again, but both owners say it’s more of the pandemic’s effect on the consumer that worries them.

“When we were at 50%, we weren’t necessarily filling 50%. We didn’t have people waiting outside the front door to get in, so regardless of if capacities were lowered, there were restrictions, it really is consumer confidence,” said Beckman. “It’s really people’s confidence, not just themselves but others, that drives that and it can certainly happen again.”

“I think I’m freaking out because they’re just being more cautious. I mean, there’s not lines out the door. There’s not a packed house in here. I’m having to really go above and beyond to promote and have these events, and DJs, and so forth to get people in the door.”

Even with the expectation of a full capacity, full schedule football season, both owners say its the unknown of this virus that worries them the most.

“We are looking forward to the football season, and the students coming back. It’s just kind of like, OK we are ready for this bang? We need it. We need it desperately, but now it’s like, OK now what,” said Rodriguez.

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