Newscast/Rant: Dining goes to-go as coronavirus cases increase. Remembering Glynn Stone. Rant: Restaurant workers also victims.

Newscast/Rant: Dining goes to-go as coronavirus cases increase. Remembering Glynn Stone. Rant: Restaurant workers also victims.

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Coronavirus updates:

  • The day after: Most Rome/Floyd restaurants move to a to-go scenario while some notables close temporarily as enforcement begins. It is an emotional time for the service industry. We have more on that in today’s Rant of the Day.
  • Local: At least 78 awaiting test results in Floyd, Bartow; 55 hospitalized. We also remember Beth Wells of Rome, the Church at Liberty Square choir member and volunteer, who was the area’s first coronavirus victim. Statewide: 10 deaths; 287 positive tests.
  • Coronavirus/health: Hospitals canceling nonessential surgeries, procedures. New screenings at Harbin Clinic sites. Updates from Public Health. Resource guide.
  • Business:  #ForBartow page combines business, community updates. Banks, credit union urge mobile, drive-through. Bowling alleys, Dollar Days close.
  • Changing times: With public services suspended, some churches are turning to Facebook, webcasts to spread The Word.

Today’s other news:

RANT OF THE DAY: To-go or not to go.

Fifteen days after a Polk County woman became the first in Northwest Georgia to test positive for the coronavirus, we’re still adapting.

Thursday afternoon, the governments of Floyd, Rome and Cave Spring dropped what was expected to be a hammer. Instead, it followed a “suggested” path of restaurants going to-go only if they wanted to stay in business. Bars with packaged products are included as well. No crowds of 10 or more in public parks except the trails.

That’s the law, at least through March 31, and it is subject to extension.

Despite urging from healthcare leaders to take an even tougher stance to stop “socialization” spots including museums, theaters and such, the restaurants will take the biggest hit. A few restaurant operators will tell you they got phone calls from city leaders earlier in the week, suggesting a to-go scenario.

So following a painful exhibition of low-tech expectations with high tech toys on Thursday at the joint meeting, our meals out will be on the go. Some said no thanks, including Provino’s and Bistro 208 and Pick-o-deli and the Harvest Moon collective. Others are trying it in order to keep revenue coming in and as many people employed as possible. Plus there has to be some inventory to use as well.

But in these days of smaller gatherings, six-foot barriers and no public sneezing, we’re about to see how Northwest Georgia does on a night – and perhaps two weeks – without hitting that favorite restaurant, at least for a sit down meal.

And many of us realizing that also need to realize we’re not the story here. Nor is it the joint declaration of our local governments.

The story is this: What will happen to our restaurant owners and the people they employ? We have something like 300 restaurants in Rome and Floyd County. If you don’t believe us, just ask the inspectors at the Public Health department

There are 20 or so restaurants up and down Broad Street as well as in connected areas and now across the Oostanaula on West Third.

These owners and operators have leases to pay in most cases. While some are cushioned thanks to spouses in the medical community or financial backers, others are doing this strictly from the customers coming through the door.

Rent, mortgages, utilities, inventory, overall sanitary needs. It adds up quickly.

Add to that the salaries of employees. Sure, some get tips to sustain the hourly rate but what about those in the kitchen or doing clean up?

If there’s no in-house dining, then you don’t need as large a wait staff. You certainly don’t need extra bartenders. In a to-go world we’re now living in, it pretty much is going to be order, cook and deliver. That translates into fewer jobs.

Where do these people go for relief? And it’s not just the restaurant staffers. What about the men and women who make a living performing at area restaurants at nights and on the weekend? Sure, some had day jobs; others live strictly from lump-sum payments by the restaurant operators and perhaps that tip jar as well.

We concur with the joint governments’ recommendations to restrict restaurant and bar socialization. We likewise agree with area healthcare leaders that even broader restrictions are needed (we don’t think this is done quite yet).

At the same time, several hundred people are about to be out of work for two weeks or longer. For the rest of us whining about no where to eat out tonight, let’s think about them and maybe some ways to connect these financial victims of the coronavirus with some other local opportunities.

Look for some possible relief options later today.

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