Jonesboro restaurant reduces capacity; health official warns others to follow suit

The Parsonage in Jonesboro took heed to the White House Task Force recommendation and reduced their dining capacity to 25%.

Jonesboro restaurant limits capacity to 25%

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - In a Nov. 15 report, the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended that restaurants in Arkansas should reduce indoor capacity to 25%.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that he was completely against the recommendation, saying “they’re already hanging by a thread.”

However, the Parsonage in Jonesboro reevaluated their operations and reduced their indoor capacity.

Co-owner Chef John Myers said that he heard from doctors who regularly visit his restaurant say that there has been a spike in hospitalizations.

“When we were hearing firsthand how close to capacity they were getting, ICU wise, hospital wise, it just seems like the responsible thing to do for the community,” said Chef Myers.

Myers felt that he was responsible for protecting his employees, customers, and the community, stating that it would not sit well with him if someone died of COVID-19 sitting in his restaurant.

“If customers are dying because of this, I don’t want to be a part of that,” said the chef.

Dr. Valencia Andrews-Pirtle, a Mississippi County health officer, said in a Zoom interview that other local businesses in Northeast Arkansas should be following suit.

“They’ll stay open,” said Dr. Andrews-Pirtle. “We’re going to patronize these restaurants. We know they want to stay open. We want to be there, so I think it’s a great idea what the White House task force has suggested.”

Chef Myers plans to push more curbside and to-go orders in lieu of reducing the restaurant capacity.

He says that running a restaurant is all about being flexible, and one should “adapt and keep on keeping on.”

Copyright 2020 KAIT. All rights reserved.