Dear readers, every week we bring you stories from restaurants or bars that are locally owned. These places of gathering are responsible for (figuratively and literally) adding zest to our lives. Many of these restaurant and bar owners are members of our community. These are the people who are constantly supporting our events, fundraisers and non-profit organizations. Whatever you can think of, they have been there, and now it is time for us to show our appreciation.

As a result of the recently issued Disaster Declaration, due to a Public Health Emergency, we would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to please be mindful of the type of impact this is having on many of our locally-owned small businesses, which are a vital part of our community, and the livelihood of the business owners and their families.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the service industry, more specifically restaurants and bars, are currently among the hardest-hit businesses. There are drastic declines in business, with many having to lay off employees and some having no option other than to close their doors. Those that have remained open, are going above and beyond the already required strictest health codes to protect diners by distancing tables and scheduling employees to full-time sanitizing.

Tips on “keeping it clean”

Wash your hands often Cough into your elbow Don't touch your face Stay more than 3ft apart *6 ft. if at all possible* If you feel sick, stay home In different circumstances, with people being urged to stay home and warnings discouraging large gatherings, there has been a surge in delivery orders from services like Uber Eats, Grubhub, Doordash and Favor.

Here are some ways in which we can do our part to ensure we help out our community restaurateurs and their family members, who are in dire need of our continued support...

Buy gift cards *for use at a later time*

Make future reservations

Order take-out and delivery

Help spread the word on social media

Now is truly the time for us to come together and show our support for our local hospitality industry and community. Let’s make sure we put forth a wholehearted effort to take care of them during this trying time in our society, so that we may be able to resume our social gatherings, once we get past this crisis mode. In the meantime, clean, disinfect, stay safe and be kind.

Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors-South Texas and Watts is a freelance writer specializing in the marketing of the service industry. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on multiple locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. They can be reached at dishin.it.956@gmail.com.