WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It’s closing time for Texas bars and dine-in restaurants as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Local restaurants and bars try to navigate these unprecedented waters, including Stick’s Place Bar and The Maplewood in Wichita Falls.
Both owners have been in the bar business in Wichita Falls for six years and said this is like nothing they’ve ever had to deal with before.
Typically packed places will have bare barstools and slender service, something The Maplewood owner Danny Martinez hasn’t seen.
“Never, never, this is something new to all of us I think,” Martinez said.
“I thought the community was going to go down when we had the drought, then you thought when the smoking ban, everybody was going to go down, we survived, this I have never seen anything like,” Stick’s Place Bar owner Kim Stevens said.
Stick’s Place is often known for its fundraisers and benefits, but for now, that’s come to a sudden halt.
“Not a whole lot we can do, we can just help our neighbors, make the best out of it, we’re gonna be cleaning this place like crazy, we’re gonna take the next two weeks and just do a thorough deep clean and I hope come April 3rd we can just open the doors and say ‘hey everybody, we’re glad to see ya,'” Stevens said.
Meanwhile, at the Maplewood, Martinez is trying to think outside the box by creating to-go boxes that can feed a family of four.
“Someone can come in, pretty inexpensive, pick up ground beef or chicken and rice and beans, those are all things that we could source out in big bulk,” Martinez said. “The product does change day-to-day and it’s whatever we are able to source out from our food vendors.”
Employees are a top priority right now as Stevens has already paid her employees for next week and Martinez is keeping his restaurants like Vaca Loca Texas open.
“We’re hoping to be able to pay them again for the next week just to show good faith ‘hey guys we do care’ and we do need you here, my thing to everybody is just be kind and be patient, it’s nobody’s fault,” Stevens said.
“Just to do curbside and to-go orders, we’re trying to stay as proactive as possible, keeping our employees busy, as many as we can, introducing new things that we usually don’t do,” Martinez said.
The next two weeks will look different with business owners hoping things will quickly go back to being the same.
Martinez’s restaurants offering curbside pick-up are Vaca Loca of Texas in Wichita Falls and El Sancho Mexican Restaurant in Iowa Park.
During this time, Wichita County Sheriff David Duke said his deputies will be patrolling to make sure there’s not an increase in burglaries.
The Wichita Falls Police Department is stepping up patrol of retail food parking lots and paying close attention to local businesses forced to close.