'There’s going to be a lot of people struggling’: Restaurants, bars closing dine-in services across S.C.

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 9:38 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Effective Wednesday, all restaurants and bars across South Carolina are ordered to close their dine-in services.

This announcement came Tuesday during a new conference with S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and officials with the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

McMaster said curbside takeout and delivery of food is encouraged during this time in order to support businesses and their employees.

Normally during this time of the year around the Grand Strand, restaurants and bars are starting to pick back up with business from tourism.

Tuesday, before receiving the announcement, there weren’t many people out.

Between tourism and locals visiting, restaurants and bars rely on serving patrons to make ends meet. Now, with the new restrictions, many aren’t able to do so.

Some restaurants have already had to cut back staffing and there’s a lot of uncertainty following Tuesday’s.

Robert Camp, manager of Simply Smokehouse along Mr. Joe White Avenue, said they’ve had to make changes recently with the slowing of business. Luckily for them, they do have other options to stay open.

“We’ve been scaling back payroll hours to account for the loss of business that we’ve experienced,” Camp said. “We offer drive-thru all the time now and that’s something we’ll focus more on in the coming days and weeks.”

Three people from Michigan who’ve been in town the past 15 days said they’ve stopped going out to eat due to the growing concerns over the coronavirus.

“We’ve gone to the grocery store multiple times over the last couple of weeks that we’ve been here and we’ve tried to plan out our meals so we can go ahead and eat inside," Mark Rudd, a Grand Strand visitor said. "Again, as this has become much more serious this last week, we’ve tried to do that more often and cut out our opportunities to go into the restaurants.”

With the restrictions of closing dine-in services, the question of job security is on the line.

Those who are servers in the food and beverage industry rely on tips to make ends meet. With only takeouts and deliveries as options, those tips will certainly be harder to come by.

“We’re tipped employees so we make our money off people coming in and being here and having time with them and serving people," Bryan Bomar, the supervising manager and bartender at Tin Roof, said. "So if we don’t have that obviously there’s going to be a lot of people struggling, hurting and being stressed.”

Bomar isn’t the only one in this industry to express the same concerns.

“It impacts everybody, especially here because that’s how all of our servers and bartenders survive," Scott Emde, manager of Beachhouse Bar and Grill said. “We don’t have a normal paycheck like other businesses do, they run completely off of tips and if they don’t make any money that way then nobody’s making any money.”

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