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Local restaurants and retail shops sad about rollbacks, but happy they get to stay open

With hospitalization rates rising to 15% Trauma Service Area M to restrict capacity at businesses
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Posted at 6:28 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 19:28:59-05

WACO, TX — Hospitalization rates rose above 15% in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan County.

This means places like restaurants, retail shops and gyms need to revert back to 50% capacity.

Part-owner of Shorty's Pizza Kyle Ferguson says he's just happy he gets to stay open.

"I don't think you ever quite get used to it, but you deal with it," Ferguson said.

When they heard the news that restaurants needed to revert back to 50% capacity, Ferguson said it was an easy transition.

"For us, we're kind of fortunate since we have a big outside patio eating area out there, it hasn't really affected us too much," Ferguson said.

Shorty's was already handling at 50% capacity. The 75% rule was great but since it's a smaller area with socially distant tables, the restaurant was running closer to 50% all the time.

"We have a lot of loyal customers and they've been helping us out a whole lot," Ferguson said.

Retail shops are also on the list to restrict capacity, and like Shorty's, The Findery in downtown Waco has been running close to the same.

A lot of their business is from Magnolia, sitting on the corner directly across from Magnolia Press. They have been thankful for the customers that stop in.

Manager Russell Christian says they are taking all the precautions they can to stay open.

"We're expecting people to do the same thing to stay safe and try to obey the protocols," Christian said.

They even provide free masks if a customer comes in without one. Mask wearing has become normal for Christian and his crew, almost like second nature.

"It actually feels unusual to not have a mask on when we're out in public," Christian said.

Ferguson and Christian both hope hospitalization rates fall, like everyone else. They also stress that they don't want to see their county move in the wrong direction.

"Of course, it worries me, I try not to think about it too much since it's a little out of my reach but if it happens it happens, and we learn how to deal with it," Ferguson said.

With this same order, issued by McLennan County Judge Scott Felton, elective surgeries are also on hold until hospitalization rates decrease.

Bars have to completely close, unless they have a restaurant certification. If they are running as a restaurant, food sales have to equate to 51% of sales.

Trauma Service Area M includes McLennan, Falls, Bosque, Hill and Limestone County.