LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Restaurants in Arkansas haven’t been mandated to stop allowing guests to dine in as a result of COVID-19; however, many restaurants aren’t operating as normal in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

“It’s just not the responsible thing to do right now,” owner of Esters SOMA Evan Mathis said.

Monday morning, we called Mathis.

He said he had to make a tough decision because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We were following suit like a lot of other restaurants and you know, extra cleaning, extra sanitization, and all of that. But, we decided as of yesterday that we would close to the general public and only do to-go, like take-out,” Mathis said.

The change will be hardest on servers, but it’s the only way he feels comfortable keeping the lights on.

“It’s definitely going to impact paychecks and our tipped employees very hard,” Mathis said.

But he’s confident it’s the right decision.

“More for the safety of our employees and our customers, you know, it wasn’t an easy decision to make but it’s the smartest one,” Mathis said.

Down the road in Conway, Toni Burrows has found a solution to keep feeding the community at The Hole in the Wall Café.

“I decided last night if I would go get some cameras and put ‘em out front, and then people could call their orders in. We could ask ‘what kind of vehicle you drive?’ And once they arrive, we can take their orders out to them,” Burrows said.

She said this could be a good option for any business who doesn’t have a drive-thru window.

“That’s the only way I know I can stay afloat and keep my business in operation,” Burrows said.

THV11 spoke with other restaurant managers and owners who are still allowing customers to dine in their restaurants.

They said they’re taking other measures to make that possible like heavy cleaning after each guest leaves.

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