Much different way of life in Galveston after new restrictions placed on restaurant

GALVESTON – The city of Galveston announced new restrictions for restaurants amid Coronavirus concerns.

According to Mayor Jim Yarbrough, the order went into effect Tuesday at 5 a.m.

“Restaurants will be open for take-out, drive-through and delivery but no in-dining capacities,” Yarbrough said. Per the order, bars and entertainment attractions will also shut down. It is similar to guidelines already in place for Harris and Fort Bend counties.

Owner of The Spot on the Galveston Seawall, Dennis Byrd, said they are only offering curbside pickup and to-go orders.

“It seems like every day we’re implementing more stringent protocols,” Byrd said.

According to Byrd, the restaurant will also implement a delivery option – an attempt to keep his business afloat and some of his workers employed.

“We’re going to have to furlough 160 people this afternoon,” Byrd said. “That’s an incredible challenge, it’s unprecedented, it’s the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my career.”

His decision, Byrd said, was not made easier by Galveston County Judge Mark Henry’s choice not to implement an order.

“Cities might have some different tools to work with, I don’t have them,” Henry said. “I don’t believe I have any authority to close bars and restaurants.”

Byrd said he is frustrated by the conflicting information from local leaders.

“It’s incredibly unclear and there’s a lot of confusion in the market place with different cities, different counties, different municipalities all having different opinions of how businesses are going to run,” Byrd said.

Rosario’s Flying Pizza, in Texas City, is still within Galveston County limits, but there are currently no restrictions on restaurants or bars there. The news came as a shock to employees.

Server, Aalana James and her colleagues said they feel like they are missing out on potential earnings.

“Everyone wants to make their money,” James said. “This is a mom and pop place, and I make my tips off of being a waitress and dining in.”

The Galveston County Health District announced Wednesday afternoon the county’s number of coronavirus cases is now at four.

According to Galveston city officials, the order was issued in response to the area’s first instance of community spread and will remain in effect for one week.