Austin restaurants, bars adjusting to new ways of serving customers during COVID-19 dine-in ban


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Bars and restaurants across Austin are now learning how to get their food to their customers — mainly through pick-up, to-go and delivery options.

Others have had to think outside the box completely.

Sam Addison, owner of The Pickle House, has pickles.

Lots of pickles.

But what he doesn’t have is diners. So Addision is re-focusing his efforts in a way he hasn’t in years.

Although the dining room is closed right now, there are pickles to be pushed. That’s why Addison is going back to his roots and selling his products online – in the city and nationwide.

“People who have never done things before in certain positions are now doing them and its an interesting time and you know, it’s kinda fun, too,” said Addison. “We are all learning.” 

The truth is that all restaurants in the city are having to adapt.

Right now, the city is in what the Texas Restaurant Association called “Coach Mode.” Code enforcers are not writing tickets yet, just helping owners understand the law.

KXAN recently learned that some bars and restaurants have even tried bending the rules: selling beer and liquor curbside without the proper permit.

“Someone may be unaware of what the law says or what may not be allowed,” said Chris Porter, of TABC. “So, if that’s the case, we simply just correct them and move on.”

But the Texas Restaurant Association says “Coach Mode” ends Thursday.

Despite the fact that Gov. Greg Abbott issued a waiver on Wednesday night allowing the delivery of alcohol by permitted businesses — accompanied with food purchases — those who do not follow the rules could be fined up to $1,000 or face five months in jail. 

But Addison says he thinks most of the industry just wants to get back to business.

“It’s a very tight-knit community and we have all been talking to each other or crying on each other’s shoulders or laughing with each other and just kind of making the best out of it.” 

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