Restaurants ask public to help keep doors open to business

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 6:44 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As COVID-19 numbers climb, bars and restaurants are asking the public to take the virus seriously so they don’t have to shut their doors. Rich Owens, long-time owner of Tastee-Freez in Jewel Lake, recently made changes to try and keep his restaurant safe.

Earlier this week, Owens voluntarily closed the dine-in portion of the restaurant until the numbers go down. He said he feels dine-in is too risky right now, plus, it was difficult to monitor the area to make sure everyone was obeying the rules.

“Most people have been very good about it, but there are a few people who have had my employees in tears,” he said. “[People] who didn’t want to wear a mask, they didn’t want to separate, but the majority of customers have been very good.”

Owens said the 62-year-old restaurant has been through a lot, but COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges. Mostly, because it has no definitive end.

“I don’t think in February and March when this started most of us thought we’d be in this situation here eight months later,” he said.

Owens has increased his takeout and delivery options and says there are still plenty of ways that people can support local businesses, even if they don’t want to leave their homes.

Over the years, Owens has given so much to the community, donating to causes and schools and providing free ice cream for village children as part of the Alaska National Guard’s Operation Santa Claus. Now, he’s confident that loyal customers will help sustain him and other local businesses.

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