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Utah restaurants see decline in business after new COVID-19 restrictions take effect

Posted at 8:51 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 23:47:52-05

SALT LAKE CITY — In the Governor's new executive order you’ll find a statewide mask mandate, new protocols for who to interact with, and an order for bars to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m.

But in it, you won’t find much about restaurants. However, that hasn’t stopped many from being confused and nervous again about dining out.

RELATED STORY: Read the full executive order here

“I think it will set the industry back at least for an amount of time until people feel that it is comfortable and safe," said Melva Sine, President and CEO of the Utah Restaurant Association.

Sine believes executive orders like the one issued Sunday make diners nervous, and she wants to allay those concerns.

“It's safer to eat in a restaurant than it is perhaps to eat at home. We sanitize, we clean, we distance, we wear masks, we follow all of that guidance," Sine said. “We need to keep that unique flair of Utah’s restaurant community. We need to save and keep afloat as many restaurants as possible. That’s why people come here.”

The effects have already started to reach local restaurants,. Samantha Krik, who manages Chedda Burger in The Gateway, said there has already been a slight drop in sales since the order took effect Monday.

RELATED STORY: Utah business owners full of questions about statewide mask mandate

“The revenue part is really scary with being such a small business because we are local too because everything that happens in Salt Lake City affects us” Krik said. “I expect it to be slower throughout this week maybe even that two-week period.”

Utah restaurant owner Michael McHenry said health codes require high standards of cleanliness at restaurants whether or not there's a pandemic.

“Restaurant operations have always been one of high discipline, sanitization and safety long before the recent pandemic state," McHenry said. "However, this has challenged owners and operators to lean in further, incorporate social distancing within our operational functions, increased frequency on sanitation, hand-washing, masks standards and six feet or more spacing within our dining room tables.”

RELATED STORY: Where Utahns are wearing face masks the most

As restaurants suffer and continue to see a lack of revenue over the course of new executive orders and the pandemic, for McHenry, a sense of community is more important than ever.

“What’s beautiful and to be trusted about supporting local restaurants and bars within your community is those who own and operate them are your neighbors," McHenry said. “Neighbors act in the best interest of each other, their community, team members and businesses. It’s the very glue that holds our great state together."