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El Paso restaurants struggle to adapt to new social-distancing rules for virus

EL PASO, Texas -- Restaurants that remain open across the city of El Paso are bracing for the worst, but trying to keep a positive outlook.

Right now, restaurants are not seeing the same number of customers as before health department orders were issued that require less capacity and more space between tables to ensure social distancing in an effort to combat spread of the coronavirus.

Avila’s Mexican Food on North Mesa Street is trying to get creative so they can keep their doors open, and keep employees working.

"Since the masses aren’t coming to us, to try to keep our employees employed there are more to go’s, more deliveries. Rotating the hours of the people that are working so at least, as long as we stay open, keep them working,” said Roldan Chavez with Avila’s.

Chavez said Avila’s is seeing fewer than half the customers as before.

He said the restaurant and its employees are meeting all the mandates ordered by the city and county’s health expert, cleaning and sanitizing regularly, as well as keeping distance between customers who do arrive to dine. His biggest concern is being forced to shut down.

“If the government mandates the complete shutdown, as they did like bars yesterday, what’s next? We don’t know. I guess you can say right now, nervous, wondering what’s the next step. It seems like every hour there’s something that’s happening. We don’t know,” explained Chavez.

But coronavirus isn’t delivering bad news for everyone. As more people stay home, more people are ordering out.

“I hate to say it, but it seems business is booming. You know, a lot of people don’t want to go outside. A lot of businesses unfortunately have to close their doors. It gives us a lot more business, it’s keeping me in business,” said Dave Loma of Uber Eats, as he waited to pick up food at Avila’s to deliver to customers.

Loma said Wednesday was only his third day after switching from transporting people to delivering food. And, he said, he was averaging 20 orders a day so far.

El Paso / Health / News / Video

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.


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