Restaurants facing tough choices as pandemic continues


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Restaurants in our area are making tough decisions about whether to stay open or shut down for a while.

Many in the service industry live paycheck to paycheck, But public health is, of course, a huge concern.

“This is my livelihood,” said Dave Henderson, the owner of The Water Dog in Lynchburg. “This is the livelihood of many of the staff members here.”

On Monday, they decided to close their doors. Now Henderson and his staff are figuring out what to do next. At a staff meeting on Tuesday, they discussed donating excess food so it will not go to waste, with one employee asking if they can prioritize donating their food to their out-of work employees.

“It was not an easy decision,” said Henderson. “The health and safety of our community comes first, and our staff and our team members.”

They are still available for carry-out orders.

“We hope that they continue to think about us as they go about trying to figure out their normal life.”

Fifth and Federal Station is also open for carry-out as well as deliveries, which they hope will help make up for the impact of social distancing.

“We had a significant drop in our customers over the weekend,” said owner Josh Read.

Unlike The Water Dog, Fifth and Federal is open for diners

“The right decision for us was to go ahead and open.”

Despite warnings from health officials against large gatherings, Read is moving ahead with his restaurant’s Saint Patrick’s Day party, with some adjustments.

“Sanitizing between each customer,” he said. “Menus, tables. And spacing out, not seating people near one another.”

Both owners say one way to support local restaurants without dining out is to buy gift cards, as Henderson explained.

“Having that gift card and holding it until these restaurants open back up really does allow for us owners and operators to acquire cash that will allow us to continue to pay our staff, pay our bills, and hopefully keep the doors open once we see through this.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

News tips

Do you have a news tip or breaking news to share with WFXR?  Submit your tip here.

Latest News

More News

News Tip Form

Restaurant Service Guide