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Park City restaurants already taking a hit from coronavirus

(The inside of Hearth And Hill Restaurant. Credit: Co-Owner Brooks Kirchheimer.)

PARK CITY – Utah’s restaurant industry is going to be hit extra hard from the coronavirus. Business owners in some counties have been told not to let people dine in-house. Some restaurant owners in Park City say they’re already feeling a serious pinch due to the coronavirus.

Employers in Summit County were told over the weekend they won’t be allowed to serve customers inside their restaurants for the foreseeable future due to health concerns from the coronavirus.

This move is to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading. They’ll still be able to serve customers through drive-up windows and curbside service.

Hearth and Hill Co-Owner Brooks Kirchheimer says some public notices say this order could last a couple weeks, but he thinks that’s an optimistic prediction.

“We don’t believe that this is going to be over in two weeks.  We think that it’s just beginning,” he says.

Kirchheimer says he’s in a much better position than many other people.  He has some funds set aside to help him weather this kind of storm for a while.

However, he says other restaurant owners aren’t that lucky. He has already let some of his part-timers go, but, he’s finding projects for his full-timers to do so they don’t lose out of hours.

“We are going to do whatever need to do to ensure that those that do have health insurance with us maintain their health insurance.  That’s really important to us, especially in times like this,” he says.

Kirchheimer is also concerned about the ripple effect that will harm industries tied to restaurants due to the coronaviurs.

“Our compost company, our recycling company and our musicians [will be hurt.]  We have live music twice a week,” he says.

Salt Lake County issued a similar order Monday.  Customers are essentially banned from eating inside restaurants and seating options in supermarkets will be taken out until further notice.  Even if you can’t dine inside, Kirchheimer is urging people to go to restaurants twice a week.

“It’s not about restaurants making a ton of money.  It’s about restaurants being able to make enough money to provide hours to their associates and restaurants being able to make enough money to pay their utility bills,” Kirchheimer says.

 

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