‘ In general, it’s amazing how everybody has rallied together to support each other. ... They’re being creative. They’re figuring out ways to go ahead and use resources that they didn’t do before.’
RICHMOND – Businesses took different approaches early on to the coronavirus.
Some restaurants reduced orders to drivethroughs and carry-outs.
Some kept the door open for walk-in customers.
Richmond Chamber of Commerce Director Natalie Lamar last week said staying open or closing remained up to each business.
“Right now, every restaurant in town is doing what they feel is best for their business as well as their customers,” she said.
At Tequila Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, Richmond, the doors remained open.
“The business today is slow,” employee Heraldo Hacentio said.
The news could be better for the popular community restaurant, which just expanded physically to serve more people. Still, employee Jesus Diaz said business is not bad.
“I’ve got a lot of call-in orders,” he said, which is the only kind of orders he could accept a few days later.
The Ray County Commission exerted authority – granted by the state to combat the coronavirus, COVID-19 – to close all non-essential businesses. This means Tequila Jalisco and other restaurants cannot allow dine-in customers. Hair care places had to close, too.
Prior to the ordered closure, Diaz said he would follow government orders.
“If the health department calls, we’ll close,” he said.
Clay County made the same move last week to limit businesses.
Excelsior Springs Chamber of Commerce Director Elaina Lamley said city restaurants have adjusted already to the times.
“They’re not (open) for inside dining,” Lamley said. “Everybody is adhering to the guidelines of take out, delivery, curbside pickup only.”
One city restaurant, Opportunity Café, closed outright.
The Elms Hotel is among other businesses that have closed and is currently not accepting room reservations before April 24, 2020.
“In general, it’s amazing how everyone has rallied together to support each other,” Lamley said. “Last week, it was more concern – ‘Oh, no, what am I going to do? How am I going to take care of my employees?’ (Now) it’s turned. They’re being creative. They’re figuring out ways to go ahead and use resources that they didn’t do before. …
“It’s amazing how this town has really just come together. … We’ll get through this.”
All businesses seek to cope with the loss of income caused by COVID-19, Lamar said.
“What we’re hearing is, they’re doing what they can, allowing people to work from home that have the opportunity to, and closing their lobbies and such to the public in an effort to stop the spread,” she said.
The chamber is no different, Lamar said.
“We are working remotely at this time,” she said. “We’ve actually closed our office and are working from home. Because there’s so many people who come in and out of our office every day, we felt that there was no way to be able to properly sanitize between visits of people.”
A major function of the chamber involves community events, with the Richmond Mushroom Festival being up next on the calendar – maybe.
“We are still, at this moment, hopeful that the Mushroom Festival will happen that first weekend of May. We’re going to wait until April 15 to make that call,” Lamar said. “If it becomes necessary, we will reschedule to June 11, 12 and 13.”