Concerns over the coronavirus pandemic aren’t stopping locals from ordering dishes from their favorite diners — they just have to get their meals to go.
Gov. Henry McMaster on Tuesday ordered the state's bars and restaurants to stop offering dine-in meals. Governors in multiple states have issued similar mandates. McMaster's order takes effect Wednesday.
"We know a lot of these things are going to cause problems for businesses, but the enemy we face, this enemy of this virus, is bigger than any sort of irritation or inconvenience that any of us could have," McMaster said. "So we’re asking people to stick together and understand that we’re in a crisis and we need to take these measures."
But even before McMaster announced his decision, some Horry County restaurants had already seen a slight rise in takeout orders as the number of virus cases in the state climbed.
“It’s a noticeable uptick,” said Drew Doss, general manager of Tavern in the Forest, who started seeing the increase last week along with a spike in calls inquiring about Carolina Forest’s already sizable carry-out business.
In light of the current health scare, the eatery located off Carolina Forest Boulevard is offering free delivery to community members and curbside pickup, with pizza being an especially popular order among those who choose to eat at their homes.
“Pizza is definitely our bread and butter when it comes to carry-out stuff,” Doss said.
New guidelines from President Donald Trump released Monday advise Americans to avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts, and instead utilize drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.
In Conway, Ryan Bland with Crooked Oak Tavern said the business started seeing its own slight rise in carry-out meal sales over the weekend.
“Last week we didn’t see much of a difference,” he said, also noting the Laurel Street establishment that specializes in farm to table food and sells dishes such as burgers and wraps gets many of its ingredients from local farmers.
While Ernie Ross faces an uncertain future, scanning his almost empty restaurant, the owner of Sunshine Pancake House off Main Street in Loris — commonly called Ernie’s Hometown Diner — said, “We’ve had more to-go orders this weekend that we’ve ever had.”
And in Longs, Chris’ Pizza and Pub General Manager David Slomka said Tuesday that even the Surfrider Boulevard eatery’s already “crazy” takeout business has witnessed a surge.
“Since opening at 11 a.m. today, the phone has been ringing off the hook,” he said. “We’re a busy local place.”
My Horry News has a list of restaurants that remain open and are offering takeout and delivery options. Click here to see the list.