HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – COVID-19 restrictions have been loosened a bit in Mississippi, but restaurant dining rooms remained closed. And the industry is dealing with more than just a lack of patrons.
“Taking temperatures and looking for symptoms are good, and we would do that for the flu or strep like we’ve always done in the restaurant industry. You can’t have sick people working in restaurants, but this is a different thing now,” said Chris Ortego, who is the owner of Cotton Blues in Hattiesburg.
Those who have COVID-19 might not even know they have the virus and that could complicate things for any business. Restaurants in the Hattiesburg area are taking extra precautions to ensure the viability of their products.
“When they come in, we come in an hour early and sanitize the building. Sanitize our equipment, sanitize the to-go containers, and make sure we’re using gloves. And now were wearing masks,” explained Nelson Haskin, owner of Southbound Bagels and Coffee Shop and Nellie’s Chicken and Daiquiris.
Cotton Blues’ owner said his restaurant is taking similar precautions. They’ve had the same staff working at the restaurant every day to minimize risk.
“We’re cautious when we’re around each other. Like I said, the fewer people that are handling food, the better off,” said Ortego.
Both restaurants said they’re doing pickup orders for the foreseeable future.