More changes likely if dining in resumes in restaurants

Industry expects public health to remain a top priority

SAN ANTONIO – A local restaurant industry leader said if dine-in service is allowed to resume in eateries, it will be a gradual process.

“We’re not going to just jump into it,” said Dawn Ann Larios, executive director of the San Antonio Restaurant Association.

Larios said she expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District will still have guidelines to follow.

"We're going to take every precaution necessary to keep our community safe," Larios said.

Carla Ruiz, co-owner of Lisa’s Mexican Restaurant on the West Side for 37 years, said she and her mother, co-owner Alicia Cendejas, aren’t yet sure exactly to expect when that day comes.

" What will they require us to do? How many people can come in and what requirements will we need to keep everyone safe," Ruiz said are among the unknown questions right now.

Larios said reassuring the public is why the Texas Restaurant Association Promise was made, detailing precautions and steps being take to safeguard public health.

"We will continue to stand by that promise," Larios said.

She said the association’s Emergency Relief Fund is also doing what it can to help.

Larios said the association so far has raised $2 million of its $10 million goal for independent restaurants.

" I understand that $5,000 is not a lot of money," Larios said. “But at least it’s a little economic boost to get them started.”

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March. The first case confirmed in the U.S. was in mid-January and the first case confirmed in San Antonio was in mid-February.

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