Some restaurants in Central Arkansas are choosing to keep their dining rooms closed as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) — After a spike of COVID-19 cases within the last few days, some restaurants are choosing to keep their dining room closed, and others are closing shop altogether.

We talked to two baristas at Guillermo’s Gourmet Coffee who say they’re keeping their dining room closed to keep the public safe.

Kristen Baergen, one of the baristas, says the last few months have been a “rollercoaster” and the days of coffee shop talk feel like a thing of the past.

“We just miss being able to talk to our regulars and getting to know them,” said Baergen.

Baergen says a big part of their environment is spending time in the lobby, but that’s hard to do when you can’t keep people six-feet apart.

“When people come in they just want to sit and talk or do work so it’s just kind of smarter for us to keep the inside closed right now,” said Baergen.

Baergen says they hoped to open their dining room soon, but with COVID-19 brewing in central Arkansas, it looks like taking orders outside is the only way to stay afloat.

Arkansas recorded 1,061 new Coronavirus cases on Saturday, a record high for a single day in the state.

“We definitely want to keep our community safe and we want to keep our barista’s and employees safe as well,” Baergen said.

Grubbs Bar and Grille right next door to Guillermo’s Gourmet Coffee is closing its doors until further notice. On Monday, they wrote on Facebook, ‘We are sad to say that we have chosen to temporarily suspend operations during this unprecedented time.’

“If it means closing down for a little bit then it means closing down for a little bit,” said Alora Smith, another barista at Guillermo’s Gourmet Coffee.

Smith says she hopes they can remain open throughout the pandemic, but worries they will have to shut down altogether if the spread isn’t slowed.

“It’s unfortunate but we have to do what we have to do as a community to keep people safe,” said Smith.

Both baristas say they hope they can return to regular operations sooner rather than later.

The coffee shop has added outdoor seating as a substitute to the couches inside. However, seating is limited and they ask people to remain six-feet apart

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