As McMaster closes dine-in services over coronavirus, many local restaurants are opting for delivery services

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

AIKEN, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- Things are looking different in downtown Aiken. Normally, on a nice day like today, you'd see people enjoying dinner outside at one of these tables.

But since Gov. Henry McMaster stopped dine-in service in the state, restaurants are being forced to adapt.

The signs outside say open, but the tables inside tell a different story, and for restaurant owners like Charlie Hartz, it's anything but normal.

“Normally it's packed every day, and now there's nobody in here,” Hartz said.

now restaurants are faced with a new normal -- one without customers in the store.

“How do you survive? How do you survive as a business? How do your employees survive? What are the guests gonna do,” Hartz said.

In order to keep his workers employed, Hartz had to think outside the box.

“What we're doing is we're adding delivery at the Village Cafe, and we're actually using our own employees to do that versus a delivery service,” Hartz said.

Jen Steller opened A Steller Kitchen just over a year ago. She says 95 percent of her orders are to go, so she hasn't seen a huge dip in business, but she's had to make changes too.

“We have now offered curbside service to anyone who may have any of the symptoms,” Steller said. “We do not want them to have to get out of their car, so we will bring it to you.”

They say the hardest part is not knowing how long this will be the new normal.

“We're very concerned. Very concerned with the health of our business,” Steller said. “Concerned about how long this will last. What are gonna be the long-lasting effects of this?”

But all they can do now is take it day by day and just roll with it. A Steller Kitchen also set up a donation box at the store. They're taking money and food and delivering it to people in need.

Also, local restaurants are asking you to continue to shop local. These people don't get to work from home and this is their livelihood. Malia's in Aiken closed completely on Monday before McMaster’s announcement.

Aiken Fish House is also offering 50 percent off to-go orders until they're out of food.

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