Business owners in Hays County wrestle with reopening their doors at limited capacity

CRAFThouse Kitchen & Tap is one of the restaurants in San Marcos that has decided to reopen at 25% capacity per Gov. Greg Abbott's order issued April 27. (Evelin Garcia/ Community Impact Newspaper)
CRAFThouse Kitchen & Tap is one of the restaurants in San Marcos that has decided to reopen at 25% capacity per Gov. Greg Abbott's order issued April 27. (Evelin Garcia/ Community Impact Newspaper)

CRAFThouse Kitchen & Tap is one of the restaurants in San Marcos that has decided to reopen at 25% capacity per Gov. Greg Abbott's order issued April 27. (Evelin Garcia/ Community Impact Newspaper)

Almost a month after the economic shutdown, business owners in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle wrestle with keeping their doors closed or choosing to reopen at reduced capacity per Gov. Greg Abbott’s new executive order that takes effect May 1.



On April 27, Abbott issued the order that allows retail stores, movie theaters, restaurants and malls to reopen at 25% occupancy, the first phase of a statewide plan intended to spur a battered economy during the coronavirus pandemic.



For Spencer Thomas, owner of The Texas Pie Company in Kyle, he said the choice was clear: keep the doors closed.



“We’re not really convinced that it is safe [to open],” Thomas said. “We have chosen to only continue takeout and curbside.”



Thomas said he believes allowing limited occupancy in his establishment would only cause additional burdens.



“It requires us to be more vigilant as far as sanitation, which we already are all the time, but it’s extra requirements, and we would need more people [to implement that] than we need just for takeout.”



Los Vaqueros Cafe in Kyle is another restaurant that will continue to keep its dine-in area closed for now. According to owner Mayra Calderon, “it’s too soon” to open and “people are scared to get sick.”



“For the safety of our employees and our clients, we have decided to just keep doing delivery and to-go orders,” Calderon said. “We don’t want anyone to get sick.”



Calderon said her decision to keep her doors closed was shared with many neighboring restaurant owners in her area. Calderon said she will weigh her options again in a week.



Other restaurants like Brooklyn’s Down South in Buda have decided to stay close until safety procedures are in place for customers and employees, according to Steven Maldonado, bar manager at Brooklyn’s Down South.



“We just want to make sure everything is done right or in the best way,” Maldonado said. “We want to put procedures in place and just be safe for our employees and our guests.”



According to Maldonado, the owners at Brooklyn’s Down South have plans to reopen after Mother’s Day but only on certain days and only for dinner and with reservations.



Though all business owners are wary of the coronavirus pandemic, some have decided to open with safety precautions.



Amy Krell, owner of Ellipsis Boutique, a clothing store in Buda, said she is excited to return to business.



“I mainly decided to be open because it was deemed that retails stores could, so I was ready to get my doors back open and welcome in customers as safely as we can,” Krell said.



Customers at Ellipsis Boutique will be required to wear a face mask before entering the store, and a hand sanitizing station will be available for their use. Krell said she will provide face masks for customers who are not already wearing one.



Popular restaurants in San Marcos like CRAFThouse Kitchen & Tap and Cody’s Restaurant Bar have announced via social channels that they too are open at 25% capacity, following Abbott’s order.



Residents in San Marcos shared split opinions about Abbott’s decision to reopen certain businesses.



In response to Community Impact Newspaper’s Facebook post, Brianne Castle, a resident in San Marcos, said she will continue to stay home and order food to-go despite some businesses opening their dine-in areas.



“The reason we’ve been fairly lucky with cases is that social distancing was working. We’re just getting it under control it seems, and we are opening up. I think we’ll see a spike from Easter and now for sure with opening up prematurely,” Castle said. “I pray I’m wrong, and I hope those who are brave enough to go out and about stay safe and healthy.”



Shaun Segard told Community Impact Newspaper that reopening businesses was a good thing.



“This is great news! We were never meant to close down until a cure was found, and closing down thinking we can wait ... the virus out isn't possible. It's a virus, won't go away. Only immunity will take care of the problem,” Segard said.

By Evelin Garcia
Evelin Garcia covers local government, education, business and development as the reporter of Community Impact Newspaper's San Marcos/Buda/Kyle edition. Evelin is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in international studies.


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