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Some restaurants stick with COVID-19 protocols to avoid another shutdown as cases surge

Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 10:04 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As COVID-19 cases across the state continue to rise, some restaurants are keeping certain protocols in place to avoid another shutdown.

The owner of El Portrillo Mexican Restaurant in Flowood said once the Delta variant came into play, they started being more cautious again.

Before walking into El Portrillo, customers have to walk past a sign that encourages them to mask up before going inside.

Zaki Rezaie has worked as a waiter at the restaurant for the last two years. With cases on the rise across the state, he said another shutdown is a legitimate concern.

“We’re trying our best to just keep it clean, sanitize everything, but there’s just so much that you can do,” Rezaie said.

Some diners Saturday said they support the restaurant’s precautions.

“If the science says that it’s helpful to have a mask, then definitely I think people should do that and respect that,” customer Carolyn Bradley said.

A teacher in Vicksburg, Bradley said her fear of the virus stems from what she sees inside the classroom.

“This wave of the Delta variant, we have seen far more students affected with positive cases,” Bradley said. “Not just quarantined because of exposure, but they themselves are positive, which is kind of scary.”

Bradley went out to eat with her friend, Holly Knight, who’s a developer.

With economic development being such a large part of Knight’s business, she said she supports any protocols aimed at keeping businesses open.

“There is another uptick right now. And so people do need to maybe be more on alert,” Knight said. “But again, we have to continue the economy; we can’t fail again.”

With a vaccine that’s readily available, Knight said people just have to make a choice.

“Once you’ve made that choice, you’re taking a risk by going out and not being vaccinated,” she said. “But don’t shut the restaurants down. Don’t shut the economy down. There has now been something provided to help people, and you can choose or not choose. If you don’t choose, don’t go out.”

Rezaie said if people aren’t concerned about their own health, he hopes they at least consider the health of others when choosing whether or not to follow the restaurant’s protocols.

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