SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Governor Reynolds declared a public health disaster emergency Tuesday morning amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
With the declaration, all fitness centers, spas, and theaters will be closed. Casinos and all gaming facilities in the state are also being urged to shut their doors. Restaurants and bars are being forced to close down all their dine-in options, leaving only delivery and carry-out to remain open.
“It’s a lot of uncertainty of what the future holds for us,” bartender Taylor Swedlund said.
KCAU 9 spoke with several restaurants and bars who shared similar reactions to Governor Reynolds’ announcement. The service industry relies heavily on customers and the dine-in experience and employees rely on tips as their main source of income. With new accommodations being enforced, many are left feeling uncertain.
Servers, bartenders and restaurant workers across Siouxland are feeling the effect of Reynolds’ decision to close restaurants and bars to dine-in customers.
“I know a lot of the girls and guys here rely on their tips, so it’s definitely going to be hard on everyone… I mean that’s how I make most of my money… It’ll be hard,” Swedlund said.
Candice McDowell is the general manager of Rebos in downtown Sioux City. She said it was devastating to have to tell her staff things won’t be the same. Some of staff have been with her for years.
“Most of my staff lives off of their wages and tips. For right now, that’s just the hardening part, to sit there and tell them we can’t do anything for them at this moment,” McDowell said.
“I’ve been working this job for a really long time, so it’s how I make all of my income. And I know it’s only going to be a short span of time, but when it comes to thinking about bills, we’re coming up to the end of the month. Those tips are very necessary for me to live,” Paige Baker, a server at Rebos, said.
President of Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, Chris McGowan, said the Governor’s announcement will obviously have a significant impact on the economy. He said it’s critical that Siouxlanders continue to support bars and restaurants during this time.
“We want to encourage everyone in the Siouxland metro to patronize their favorite bars, restaurants, retail establishments, [and] continue to support our locally owned and operated service providers,” McGowan said.
He said you can support establishments by purchasing gift cards and certificates. Many restaurants are still offering to-go orders and some are implementing curbside pick-up and delivery.