HARLINGEN, Texas — Kitchens across Texas are in a pickle; open their doors or stick with curbside and delivery.
In Harlingen, a majority of the business community have symbolically said, “not yet” with less than a dozen opening for dine-in customers.
“Everyone wants to go out and support the local restaurant but they don’t know who to go to who’s open and when they’re open and what services are offering,” said Lisa Campos, a tourism blogger with the Facebook page, Explore Harlingen.
Campos believes many aren’t ready to reopen.
“They don’t want the virus to spread, I think that’s everyone’s worst fear is that, especially as a good restaurant owner, somebody is going to get sick in my restaurant and it’s is going to be my fault.”
A fear of someone falling ill is top of mind for Jo Wagner, owner of Colletti’s Italian restaurant in downtown Harlingen.
“We have sanitized all of the tables and chairs. We really care about people coming back, I don’t want anybody to decide they’re going out for a pleasurable evening and wind up being sick.”
Colletti’s is keeping customers spread out and following Texas’ recommendations for sanitation.
Wagner has put handwashing signs in the bathrooms and has professionally cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom, “everything’s been bleached” said Wagner.
With extra measures toward sanitation, is it enough to win back customer confidence?
Many people simply aren’t ready to take a chance.
“Right now I think it’s too early and I can’t risk putting people I love in any sort of danger,” said Ryan Santa Ana
Colletti’s recognizes the need to prove skeptical customers wrong and the only way to do that is by putting in the work.
“So we’re doing everything possible to make sure that they don’t go away regretting it.”