Richmond restaurateurs closing dining rooms to slow COVID-19
Va. restaurant, lodging association says mandatory bar and restaurant closings 'under consideration.'
A coalition of Richmond-area restaurant owners led by Richmond Restaurant Group (RRG) announced in an email early Tuesday morning that they will close their dining rooms to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.
“We have been doing all we can to keep our people working, while also keeping you as our guests healthy and safe,” RRG owners Michelle Williams, Jared Golden and Leandra Dunlevy said in the statement.
Other restaurant companies in Richmond including EAT Restaurant Partners, Rueger Restaurant Group, The Giavos Family of Restaurants, RVA Hospitality and Mosaic also signed onto the letter.
The action comes as several states, including Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut issued orders in the last two days to close all restaurants and bars. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an order Monday closing all restaurants, bars and movie theaters and gyms indefinitely in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Maryland restaurants are still allowed to offer delivery, carryout and drive-through services.
Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association President Eric Terry said that Virginia is also mulling mandatory restaurant dining room closures, adding that “it is under consideration but not definite yet.”
RRG said it will meet with staff across its six restaurants — including The Daily, East Coast Provisions, West Coast Provisions, The Hard Shell, Barrio Taqueria & Tequila and The Hill Café — to plan how to offer delivery and pick-up options for customers as its dining rooms close.
Other city restaurateurs, such as Jake Crocker, owner of F.W. Sullivan’s and Lady N’awlins, are closing their restaurants indefinitely. “We may be suffering [financially] but we understand why this is happening and why the government is making these recommendations. … We don’t want to be part of the problem,” Crocker said Monday. He gathered his staff Monday night, he said, and told them “that this was going to be our last night for the foreseeable future. I paid them up … and everybody railed around. They maintained a great attitude. … Obviously how long this goes on is anyone’s guess.”
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney issued a statement Monday recommending that restaurants in the city operate at half capacity and serve no more than 50 patrons in their dining rooms. The statement came before the White House announced Monday that Americans should avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.
Virginia Business Editor Richard Foster contributed to this story.