Baltimore restaurants shift practices to accommodate customers during COVID-19 outbreak

Posted at 4:33 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 17:43:29-04

BALTIMORE — Small businesses are starting to see the impact of COVID-19 as more people continue to practice social distancing. Restaurants that remain open are changing business practices in order to make money.

"It's been touch and go," said Papermoon manager Charlie Mross. "But so far it's been good."

While people are no longer able to eat inside the restaurant, remaining staff has moved to carryout service only.

"We ask that you call ahead or order online," said Mross. "We want customers to know that we are still open. Obviously customers have to look out for themselves but we’re here, we’re open and we’re providing carryout so we hope they’ll support us as long as they can."

It's the same message being shared by businesses across the city.

At Indian Tandoor, the family owned convenience store said it's shifting hours of operation.

"I come here and I go home," said Ranjit Bassi. "Before the virus I opened the store at 8 o’clock. Now it’s 9:30 or 10 o’clock. There are just some customers coming in."

Helping businesses stay afloat are customers like Anne Gonclaves and Dierra Footman.

"We love our local business owners," said Gonclaves. "I'm going to buy sushi right now. It'll be grab and go. I also got some of my my alcohol rations for the week. We heard a little bit of talk about maybe the liquor stores closing so we wanted to make sure we stocked up."

"I typically don’t tip on carryout," said Footman "but this time I’ve been trying to leave a little bit extra just to help them out."

Footman said she normally spends between $11 to $15 dollars to carryout. She had no problem spending a little more.

"I think it's really important to support your neighborhood restaurants," she said. "Especially if you have some money to spare, than spare it."

While it's important to support your local eateries during these time of uncertainty health officials are also reminding consumers to maximize maximize safety while ordering delivery.

  • Don't Use Cash when ordering delivery, pay using credit card of through an app like Uber Eats, DoorDash or GrubHub to limit contact with cash. The CDC recommends limiting use of cash.
  • Limit Direct Contact when picking up food limit your interaction with staff. It's best, if possible to have interactions outside. There's lower risk of any type of transmission outside than in a closed environment.
  • Order Using Your Smart Phone. You can minimize contact with a delivery person when you use apps like Uber Eats. You can request food be left on your front step or outside of your homes.
  • Practice Good Hygiene. Wash your hands after opening the package and removing food your from containers. Health professionals recommend scrub hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. You're also reminded to clean and disinfect surfaces such as doorknobs, tables and handrails regularly.