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Local restaurants react to lift on restricting sale of unprepared food


Governor Parson signed executive order 20-05 on Monday, allowing restaurants to sell unprepared food.

Parson expressed on social media he hopes the order will help restaurants financially and meet the increased demand for food.

The order goes into effect immediately and will be terminated on May 15.

Dru Vaughn is the general manager of Stadium Grill in Columbia. He said the changes made by health officials amid the spread of COVID-19, including not allowing people to dine in, has had a major impact on business.

"We're probably doing 20% of the numbers that we'd normally be doing, so, as I say we're just hanging in there," he said.

The restaurant has been trying to do as much online and take-out services as possible.

Vaughn said the executive order could be beneficial to restaurants feeling the impacts of the virus.

"It could be if people take advantage of it and use it," he said. "We're in the process of trying to get some family type meals together, you know, and advertise those. You know, for instance, lasagna and salad and breadsticks."

He said the liability is a concern for the business.

"The danger with that is if someone doesn't treat the food properly when they leave here, you know, we don't want any liabilities to come back on us," he said.

Kurt Mirtsching is one of the managers of Shakespeare's Pizza.

"Shakespeare's has been selling the pieces that we use to make our pizzas for some time now and we're going to continue to do that," he said. "Letting restaurants supplement what the grocery stores are doing is a good idea because thinking outside of the box and doing anything we can to meet these crazy challenges we have right now is only going to help."

Mirtsching said Shakespeare's is looking at selling all of the ingredients for pizzas in kits that people can take home to make.

He said the order will allow restaurants to help grocery stores that are struggling to keep items on their shelves. Mirtsching praised state officials for finding ways to help.

"Government officials are doing everything they can to be creative and come up with ideas that are going to help the cause, and this is one of them so we applaud it and we'll try to see what we can do in that regard," he said.

He urged people to follow guidelines from health officials but said people can be a big help by continuing to buy from local businesses.

"This isn't a cave, it's a tunnel, and it's going to be a big challenge but there's going to be light at the other end," he said.

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Sydney Olsen

Sydney Olsen reports in the evenings during the week and on the weekend.


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