Restaurants struggle due to coronavirus concerns

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Restaurants and food vendors across the country are starting to feel the impact of COVID-19.

The coronavirus worries have emptied out grocery shelves and cleared out the customers from many local restaurants.

“I’ve seen about a 40 percent decrease,” said Jack Walters, owner of The Elmton in Youngstown, Ohio. “Last night, I had probably a 20-percent increase in carry-out business. I’d say, out of 90 percent of my business, about 40 percent of it last night was takeout.”

For many, takeout is a safer option because they avoid additional person-to-person contact. But restaurants say they’re taking the proper precautions.

“We are trained in this business to put forth as clean of an environment as possible for anyone, so what we have done now is just increase all of that. Things that we might have been doing every five hours, we’re now doing every thirty minutes,” said Joe Cassese of Cassese MVR.

Alan Franco has been a chef for more than 30 years. About 5 years ago, he launched a food truck. With all the event cancellations, Franco has no revenue coming in.

“This is really one of the hardest seasons, so any event we can get is very important, and to lose those few events really hurts us,” said Alan Franco, owner of A Taste of N’awlns.

Franco says one upcoming event could’ve resulted in as much as $20,000 in sales. But because of the coronavirus, he won’t see a dime.

All understand many of their customers may be at-risk or caring for someone who could be most affected by the virus. However, serving up food in exchange for cash in their livelihood.

“We’re just doing what we can. We want customers feeling comfortable coming through the door,” added Cassese.

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