Owners react as restaurants, bars closeMarch 16, 2020
By ALLEN LAMAN
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced this morning that bars, nightclubs and restaurants are required to close to in-person patrons, but may provide takeout and delivery services through the end of March.
When called on deadline for this story, local restaurant owners who are set to be impacted by the change spoke of how they were preparing to enter uncharted territory.
“There’s definitely gonna be a major slowdown,” said Alan Hanselman, owner of the Schnitzelbank Restaurant in Jasper. “I think they’ve got everybody pretty scared right now of it. We don’t really know what the impact’s gonna be, because we’ve never done it before.”
Hanselman explained that the famous German eatery will ramp up it’s carryout orders and begin offering delivery as well. The menu will be cut temporarily — a change that he predicts will affect many traditional restaurants.
“The only ones that probably aren’t gonna change a whole lot are the fast food places,” Hanselman said. “Where they just won’t allow people inside, but they’ll keep their to-go business going. So they probably won’t have to make too many changes. But, definitely, the sit-down restaurants, if they want to stay open, they’re gonna have to make some changes.”
Josh Premuda, co-owner of Brew in Jasper, said modifications are coming to his business.
“I don’t have the percent off the top of my head, but the majority of our business is dine-in,” he explained. “So, we’ve had to think almost immediately [about] what we can do to try to stay open. We’re trying to figure it out right now.”
Brew’s menu will be limited, too, and carryout will be offered, with on-the-hour delivery services being a possibility.
With neighboring state governments already moving to shutter eat-in spaces, Hanselman, Premuda and Barry Dunlap, who is also a co-owner at Brew, said they knew a dine-in restriction was probably coming. But they didn’t think it would happen so soon.
“It surprised us that it came this quick,” Hanselman said of Schnitzelbank leadership. “Just because there hasn’t been that many cases [in Indiana].”
St. Benedict’s Brew Works in Ferdinand will move to carryout only for its food menu and beer. They still plan to host their fish fry Friday, but it will be drive-thru pickup only.
Co-owner Vince Luecke admits there will be “some financial pinch.”
“We’re all small businesses, and I certainly feel bad for servers and those folks who live off of gratuities, primarily,” he said. “So there’s going to be some shared pain between employers and employees.”
He said COVID-19 has certainly added to the challenges of being a small business owner.
“But we’ll try to cope the best we can,” he said.
News Editor Olivia Ingle contributed to this story.
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