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Restaurants weigh decisions over COVID-19 closures at Lake of the Ozarks

Springfield (MO) KYTV logo Springfield (MO) KYTV 3/18/2020 Andrew Havranek
a close up of a sign © Provided by Springfield (MO) KYTV

LAKE OZARK, Mo. -- To close, or not to close?

"Oh, it's a horrible decision."

Larry Giampa, owner of Blondies Burger Bar on the Bagnell Dam Strip has been flipping back and forth for days.

He and his managers all agreed to close the restaurant at least through March 30.

"I don't believe Missouri think's it's serious, but it's something you have to do," Giampa said.

He's not the only restaurant owner to close up shop. Tirebiters Peanut Pub in Osage Beach posted a sign on the door and on Facebook saying they'll be closed until further notice.

"We regret to announce that effective March 17th, that Tirebiters Peanut Pub will close until further notice. This was a difficult decision to make, but given the escalating circumstances with COVID-19 we believe this is the best decision. As a bar/restaurant owner, we have an obligation to keep our staff and customers safe. As everyone knows, this situation is rapidly changing each day, we will keep you posted."

Both Rock Island Line and Alley Cats owners say they've been doing extra deep cleaning to keep bar patrons safe.

Other restaurants are working to find a different approach to stay in business.

"We've created a whole new process to run this restaurant to keep people safe," said George Tucker, owner of Tucker's Shuckers Oyster and Tap.

Tucker said the restaurant has switched to single use menus, there are no condiments on tables, and they've also removed some seating from the dining room and bar.

Tucker is also launching a delivery service so you can order food and even alcohol like six packs of beer and bottles of wine for those who live within 10 minutes of the restaurant.

"It's actually no-contact delivery," Tucker said. "We do not accept cash. We take payment over the phone when you put the order in."

Even though these changes are hurting, Giampa says all of these precautions are important.

"It's scary as can be because you go through the winter, and you actually lose money all winter long. You're hoping for the summer to get you through it, but you gotta do what you gotta do," Giampa said. "I think it's time we all get serious, lets end this damn thing, and then let's move on."

Despite bordering states of Iowa, Illinois, and Kentucky closing dine-in restaurants from the public, Governor Mike Parson has not made that decision.


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