Barbecue To-Go

(L-r) Dustin Krenek hands his payment to business owner Dawn Rivera for his take out lunch from Pitt Viper BBQ Tuesday.  In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, Governor Greg Abbott enacted an executive order Thursday closing bars, clubs and limiting restaurants across the state to serving takeout meals only. Since then, various El Campo businesses have adapted to serve customers without dine-in areas. 

Officials don’t doubt area businesses are being affected by coronavirus-driven closures and stay home recommendations, but they’d like to know how much.

“We have to have some kind of estimate,” City Development Director Carolyn Gibson said Tuesday. “We are gathering information now, for predetermining the necessary support needed for our business community. The more information we can put together and the faster we can get it to the entities with funding opportunities, which is all the better for business owners.”

The CDC is working with the Wharton Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Houston Partnership in releasing the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey.

“If you are a business owner or manager please take the time to complete the survey,” Gibson said. “It will help us lobby for assistance for your businesses and garner resources that are appropriate to help you in these times.”

The survey questions economic impacts including loss of business and employees as well as business viability with a reduced income.

The numbers are estimates only, although the effects are real.

“I drove around El Campo last night and just cried. El Campo was not there. It just broke my heart,” she said. “But I did see some businesses open (doing take out). That’s one thing I have to say. El Campo will try to support its businesses.”

They may get worse before it gets better, she added.

“We want to get EVERY possible resource to our businesses. This information will allow us to target those in the greatest need and work from there,” she said. “We want our businesses to be the first in line!”

Information is also being sought on rural businesses and agricultural ventures.

The CDC is working with national platforms to find ways to aid restaurants with takeout and delivery and will release more information when it becomes available.

It also encourages businesses to reach out and contact the CDC for assistance. 

“We are a resource for you, your business, and your employees. Please use us,” Gibson said.

“The sooner the businesses respond to the survey the better,” Gibson said. “As we receive those responses we will adapt the survey as necessary.”

The CDC is available at 979-320-7727 and cgibson@elcampoeco.org.

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