Popular restaurant responds to new coronavirus restrictions


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced new restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The safety measures include a limit of 25 individuals for in-person gatherings, an expanded mask mandate, an on-site alcohol curfew, and increased enforcement.

The restrictions take effect at midnight on Sunday, Nov. 15, and The Roanoker Restaurant is already concerned about what they can mean for business, especially during the holiday season.

“I have never seen anything like this in my life,” said Butch Craft, owner of the restaurant.

Like many businesses, the almost 80-year-old restaurant is struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Craft has worked at the establishment for 50 years. With fewer dine-in options and more takeout order, the business is experiencing a new way of dining she never thought possible.

Since the end of March, the restaurant has enforced strict safety measures, including frequent cleanings and social distancing.

With an increasing amount of COVID-19 cases, Craft says Northam’s newest mandate is something she already expected.

“We have already limited the private dining rooms and I think we’ll get through this one,” said Craft. “Hopefully this will lower the cases and things will be better.”

One customer say it’s a change that’s needed.

“They need more restrictions. Restaurants and these department stores, everyone needs to enforce it more,” said Nelson Rynes.

Craft says her biggest concern as a business owner is Thanksgiving. The popular restaurant is one of the few in the area open for the holiday. She says business will be different this year.

“Last year we did 1,400 people. I don’t anticipate to do 30% of that this year,” said Craft.

As for Rynes, he says his Thanksgiving plans with his longtime friend are up in the air — for now.

“She’s just figuring out how we can do it and still eat together. You know, and be away from each other,” said Rynes.

Craft hopes the newest mandate is a step in the right direction.

“I sincerely hope we don’t have to shut back down. That’s our greatest fear, and I think that’s anybody’s greatest fear that’s in business.”

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