DES MOINES — Many Iowans are making the switch from dining out to getting carry out, following Tuesday’s order from the governor that temporarily closes all restaurants statewide, except for pick-up, drive-through or delivery.
Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, is appealing to consumers to call their favorite restaurants and place an order. Dunker reassures, your meals will be safe from COVID-19.
“We receive food from purveyors directly into sanitized kitchens and it is kept in temperature-controlled spaces where it’s prepared for people by gloved, trained staff,” Dunker says. “If we can deliver it to your car door, we know where every point of contact of your food has been.”
The Public Health Disaster Emergency is causing a “tremendous disruption” in the dining industry, but Dunker hopes Iowans will quickly adapt and get their meals to go. If it’s not practical for someone to visit their local eateries, Dunker says most Iowa communities have professionals who can deliver food from restaurants to the door of your home.
“Third-party delivery services have stepped up to waive and discount fees to restaurants who are doing everything they can to do no-contact food delivery,” Dunker says. “None the less, we don’t ever want to abdicate that if we don’t have to. We really do prefer to hand things to people directly.”
In addition to restaurants, all Iowa bars are shut down as well, creating a critical problem for tavern owners: restaurants may be able to stay afloat by offering carry-out, but bars can’t legally do that with drinks. “We’re requesting some relaxation for some things to help bars potentially be able to sell something but bars do not have the ability to sell liquor to go,” Dunker says, “and so, we’re concerned.”
Of the 6,300 restaurants and bars in Iowa, she fears the temporary closures will result in the -permanent- closures of as many as 3,000 establishments. Dunker says as many as 80,000 workers in the industry statewide could be filing for unemployment within ten days.