Richardson May 2020

Reopening Richardson

father and son Tom and Max Brunell said they will stick with takeout until cases of the virus begin to drop o. “Going to a restaurant seems like an unnecessary risk,” Max said. In Dallas County, 6,359 people had been infected with the coronavirus and 148 people had died as of May 13. In Richardson, 138 people had been diag- nosed, and 11 had died. Despite climbing case counts, some residents said they believe it is their civic duty to support restaurants and retailers that are struggling. “Absolutely, we are going to get back out,” long- time Richardson resident Kurt Middelkoop said. “Mainly, we want to support these businesses because if we don’t, they won’t be here in six months.” Without knowing exactly how many businesses were forced to close, it is dicult to gauge the impact loosened restrictions will have on Richard- son’s economy, said Bill Sproull, president and CEO of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. How- ever, if even a handful of businesses reopen, it will matter to the well-being of the overall community, he said.

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over three two-hour intervals, allowing sta enough time to sanitize the restaurant between reservations. “The community wants us to open, and we have a lot of workers who want to come back,” he said. “As a business owner, I’m scared about all of this, but I do want to come back.” Abbott’s order allowed restaurants, retail shops and movie theaters to open at 25% occupancy on May 1 and at 50% on May 18. The governor then announced salons and gyms could reopen May 8 and May 18, respectively. “It’s a fact: It’s hard to get rid of this virus because it is so contagious,” Abbott said during an April 27 news conference. “So we’re not just going to open up and hope for the best. Instead, we will put mea- sures in place that will help businesses open while also containing the virus and keeping Texans safe.” Cindy Molina, who runs Dos Charros Richardson with her mother, said she believes the state’s deci- sion to resume dine-in service was premature and

May 1 marked the beginning of Phase 1 of Gov. Greg Abbott’s phased reopening plan for select businesses. Richardson has committed to following statewide orders to the letter.

May 118

Retailers, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, museums and libraries may reopen up to 25% capacity. Places of worship may remain open while observing distancing practices. Outdoor sports with up to four people may take place. Nursing facilities remain closed to visitors. Hair salons and barbershops can open May 8. Gyms, nonessential manufacturers and oce buildings can open May 18 at 25% capacity.

could lead to a spike in new cases. “We don’t know what [that deci- sion] is going to cost,” she said. “If [the virus] continues to spread through the community, we will end up back to where we were at before.” A Texas Restaurant Association survey conducted in late April showed that more than 56% of restaurant owners chose not to reopen May 1 and said they were unsure if they would reopen in the days that followed. Of the 100 local restaurants con- tacted by Community Impact News-

“MAINLY, WEWANT TO SUPPORT THESE BUSINESSES BECAUSE IFWE DON’T, THEY WON’T BE HERE IN SIXMONTHS. “ KURT MIDDELKOOP, RICHARDSON RESIDENT

“It’s darn important to those retailers who were forced to close, and this now gives them an opportunity to open back up,” he said. Richardson’s business commu- nity is at an advantage because of the large number of tech, man- ufacturing and nancial compa- nies, the majority of which were able to quickly pivot to a virtual platform, Sproull said. It took only six days for the city’s largest employer, State

Could begin May 18

Beginning May 18, Abbott may allow some businesses to reopen and some to increase their capacities to 50%, depending on statewide COVID-19 containment. This information was current as of press time May 13.

precautions Abbott has provided recommendations for shoppers and business owners to maintain health precautions through the state’s rst reopening phase.

paper , 58% reopened their dining rooms May 1, while 7% chose to wait until May 18. The remainder had no immediate plans or were unsure when they would open. Some restaurant owners said opening at 25% capacity meant letting only a handful of custom- ers into their dining rooms. Rather than funneling resources toward dine-in, Dos Charros chose to stick with takeout and delivery, Molina said. “We actually feel like we might lose more open- ing at 25% than staying the way we are,” she said. Jay Stine, who co-owns Pineda’s Mexican Restaurant, said he would keep his robust takeout and delivery options going to supplement the small number of dine-in patrons Pineda’s is allowed to serve. “Twelve diners at a time isn’t going to pay our bills,” Stine said. According to an internet survey conducted by The Texas Tribune and The University of Texas at Austin between April 10-19, three quarters of regis- tered voters supported orders to stay home except for essential activities. Another two thirds said they agreed with decisions by Abbott and other local ocials to suspend nonessential business operations, per the poll, which had an overall mar- gin of error of 2.83%. As they waited outside vegan bakery Cinnaholic,

Farm, to get its 10,000-person sta working remotely, Sproull said. Texas Instruments contin- ued its manufacturing operations and is moving along with construction of its expanded semicon- ductor factory on Alma Road. “The tech community and the nance and insur- ance industry [were] probably better prepared than most to work virtually and continue operations,” he said. Loosened restrictions are only as successful as the public’s willingness to take advantage of them, Sproull said. In Richardson, 3,842 residents led for unemployment insurance between April 1 and May 2, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. “Human behavior is going to lag [behind the reopening of the economy] by quite a bit,” he said. “We’ve taken a pretty big economic punch.” Small businesses are the life force of the com- munity, Sproull said, so it is crucial that residents continue to support them in a manner that is safe and comfortable. “They are our family. They’re part of our commu- nity,” he said. “They’re people, and they deserve livelihoods.”

ALL SHOPPERS ANDDINERS SHOULD:

wear a face mask or covering

maintain a 6-foot distance

self-screen for possible COVID-19 symptoms

disinfect hands regularly

RETAILERS AND RESTAURANTS SHOULD:

provide hand disinfectants in store

use disposable menus

maintain 6 feet of distance between employees

wash hands

set hours for at-risk customers only

disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items

screen employees for possible COVID-19 symptoms

use contactless payment

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

SOURCE: OFFICE OF THE TEXAS GOVERNOR COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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RICHARDSON EDITION • MAY 2020

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