Taking the pulse on restaurant reopenings

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Hello everyone,

Over the weekend, a few New Castle County restaurateurs took the public’s pulse via Facebook.

The question to customers – if restaurants opened in the near future would you come back?

The Platinium Dining Group (Redfire Grill, Lemons and Capers etc.), Harry’s Savoy Grill and Kid Shellen’s restaurant owner Xavier Teixido, and Stanley’s Tavern asked the question.

TownSquareDelaware took note of the outpouring on Facebook. The majority of those polled would return, with a sizable minority not yet ready.

The responses were fascinating but could not be neatly categorized.

Some could not understand what the fuss over this coronavirus was all about, a reflection of the mixed messages we receive every day, and hardened political stances on either side of the spectrum.

Others may have misplaced food safety concerns, perhaps mistaking the fact that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted among humans via talking or coughing. rather through food contamination. (The virus can stick around on surfaces, hence the need for regular cleaning).

Another contingent cited underlying health conditions as well and/or transmitting the virus to family members in delicate health.

The overall tone of the comments was a mild and civil thumbs up for reopening. My comment to Xavier was that I would trust his establishments to the right thing.

The comments also illustrate the challenges that lie ahead for an industry that accounted for a sizable amount of job growth in Delaware as well as a high closing rate – even in the best of times.

Building business will take time and the economics of operating an establishment with fewer tables and more carryout service are daunting.

Keep in mind, political views and income tend to influence the reopening issue. 

The northern Delaware restaurants do not necessarily appeal to fans of national chains with their “two for 20” offerings. Also, the location of the restaurants of Platinium, Teixido and Stanley’s are the blue area of the state.

Taking the poll south of the C&D Canal, might yield different results, a possible exception being the foodie-driven Lewes-Rehoboth area. 

It would be interesting to see if two of the state’s biggest restaurant operators, SoDel Concepts and Big Fish would take the plunge via Facebook.

There are risks. Few would want to see the discussion degenerate into a political debate.

Take some time today to enjoy this nice weather. Keep in mind that if you want to pay a visit to the grocery or drug store, facemasks are now mandatory.

I imagine some people won’t be happy with that. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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