The Frisco Bar & Grill, recently accredited as a restaurant in an effort to weather COVID-19 restrictions on bars, has operated in Frisco for about 13 years.
For co-owner Tony Spino, the prospect of a fresh round of capacity restrictions on businesses is just another hurdle to deal with.
“We've been taking them to the chin all year,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean the business hasn’t had its share of setbacks due to the pandemic.
“At the end of the year, we're looking at doing almost barely 50% of what we did in 2019,” Spino said. “That's brutal.”
The North Texas area is now facing the implication of additional COVID-19 restrictions that could impact businesses. In a Thursday evening press release, Denton County stated that the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity in Trauma Service Area E, which includes Collin, Denton and Dallas counties, had exceeded 15% for seven straight days.
Per two executive orders from Gov. Greg Abbot, that seven-day stint serves as a threshold for enacting more restrictive limits on business capacities and hospital procedures, including on the maximum capacity for restaurants like The Frisco Bar & Grill.
While Collin and Denton counties each reported having no word from state entities as of Friday afternoon, multiple local agencies announced that the stipulations in those executive orders had gone into effect.
In its press release, Denton County stated businesses operating at 75% capacity can only operate up to 50%. The county also stated that people cannot visit bars or similar establishments.
“The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) will determine the extent of operation,” the county statement added.
The orders are in place until Trauma Service Area E reports a COVID-19 hospitalization rate at or below 15% for seven consecutive days, Denton County stated.
As of Friday evening, Collin County had not made a public statement. In a Friday email, Tim Wyatt, Collin County Public Information officer, said County Judge Chris Hill and other county officials had been communicating with state and regional officials regarding the increased hospitalization rate.
“Collin County officials are awaiting additional correspondence from DSHS, TABC or the Governor’s Office providing further instructions on the state’s implementation of GA-32,” Wyatt stated Friday.
In his Friday afternoon email, Wyatt added that neither the DSHS nor the TABC websites reported that the county or the trauma service area were under heightened restrictions at that time.
“The Governor’s Office is responsible for enforcement of Gov. Abbott’s executive orders, and no local executive orders have been issued by Collin County at this time,” Wyatt stated.
For Spino, the 25% reduction in how full his restaurant can be will be impactful to business.
“You could almost say we're going to lose another 25% of our sales,” he said.
While food delivery apps offer marketing and sales opportunities, Spino said most also tend to take a percentage of food sales, which, added to the cost of making the food, means most restaurants don’t benefit from those types of delivery services.
“We understand that people are concerned about the holidays and being around family and stuff like that,” Spino said. “We're not trying to be part of any kind of problem, we're just trying to survive as well.”