HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With Harris County restaurants closing to dine-in customers Tuesday morning, restaurant owners are faced with difficult decisions on how to survive without their usual customers.
The US Labor Department estimates 277,000 people work in Houston area restaurants and bars. A little more than 56,000 of them are waiters and waitresses.
In largely empty dining rooms, restaurant owners ABC13 spoke with Monday said the last thing they want to do is lay off employees, many of whom feel like family according to the owners.
While Houstonians can't eat out, there are things you can do to help your neighborhood favorites and their staffs survive.
The Houston Restaurant Association reminded us that restaurants have always held high health standards and now is no different. Many have implemented extra cleaning procedures as COVID-19 spreads.
As we pick up or have food delivered, the Restaurant Association encouraged all of us to "tip as generously as we can afford."
The one thing that could help business right away are gift cards. The restaurant association suggests buying gift cards at your favorite restaurants right now. In tough times, restaurants need cash to pay staff or pay bills. Gift cards are cash for restaurants right away. You can save them and use them when the restaurant restrictions are lifted.
Turn to Ted: How to help your favorite restaurants through closures