Updated: March 16, 2020 09:06 PM
Created: March 16, 2020 08:03 PM
ROSWELL, N.M. - Some restaurants and bars in Roswell are taking a hit after new restrictions were put in place by the New Mexico Public Health secretary Sunday to prevent coronavirus from spreading.
“You look inside, you see half-filled dining rooms and we have people in the waiting area,” said restaurant owner, Saul Aguilar. “You look around -- you see an empty parking lot, well emptier than what we normally have."
Aguilar owns Antigua and Cerritos –two popular restaurants in Roswell with a capacity of over 400 combined.
The new order issued by New Mexico Public Health requires restaurants, bars, breweries and other food establishments to operate at no greater than 50% maximum occupancy –seating is included.
The order went into effect Monday.
“We always want to make sure we comply with all state and local laws. So, the first thing we did last night when we saw that order come in is make a memo,” Aguilar said. “We split up our floor plans so we can accommodate and make sure we're in compliance with the state’s plan.”
“We’re not allowed to sit more than 6 people at a table,” he said. “Sometimes we have clubs that meet here of 10-15, 20 people. We’re trying to separate, break them off into smaller tables or cancel altogether."
Colton Eskeli, the taproom manager at Red Door Brewery in Roswell, said he’s also complying with the new changes.
“We went from a capacity of 99 in this room to 48, and the tables and chairs have been moved 6 ft. apart to make sure no one is in close quarters,” he said. “We have removed all of our bar stools. We moved our tables around, and sort of reset the dining room, so we're at a smaller capacity in here."
Despite recent changes to contain the coronavirus, Eskeli believes it could be worse.
“It’s not a full closure. We're still able to operate,” he said. “We can still do to-go orders, we can still do to-go beer. My employees aren’t missing out on their entire paycheck. It is going to be rough, but we’re happy we’re not having to completely close our doors."
Aguilar believes supporting local is crucial during this time.
“At a time like this, make sure we support our local communities,” he said. “Shop local, keep our local businesses open, they’re the ones that usually take a big hit when things like this happen."
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