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To Slow Pandemic, Richmond Asks Restaurants to Cut Services

Cafe door with sign
Greenbriar Cafe is one of many businesses taking steps to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo: Alan Rodriguez Espinoza)

*VPM intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza reported this story

The City of Richmond is calling on local restaurants to cut down on the number of people they serve inside by half, with a maximum limit of 50 customers based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration is also recommending tables be six feet apart in establishments, and for restaurants to stop offering bar seating for patrons. 

“This measure is taken in an abundance of caution and in the interest of the health of restaurant patrons and staff,” Stoney said in a statement. “I understand that this action will take a toll on small businesses.” 

To offset this adverse effect on businesses, the city says it’s exploring the possibility of providing local businesses with small, no-interest loans.

Many businesses throughout the Richmond area were already taking precautions prior to the city’s announcement. Meredith Temple, co-owner of Greenbriar Cafe, says her restaurant has been operating on limited business hours.

“It’s a hard balance. You have to have enough people in to stay open but you also don't wanna take away so many hours from your employees that it impacts them. You also want to look out for their safety,” she said. 

While the mayor’s announcement is merely a recommendation, other city and state governments throughout the country have gone forward with ordering the closures of restaurants and bars in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus.