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Parents, business owners showing concern amid coronavirus and school closures

COVID-19 concerns are forcing restaurants to close their dining rooms, while also making small business owners balance work and family.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Texas — 12News also spoke with business owners in Mid-County who have children in Nederland ISD.

Students were supposed to return to school this week, but administrators extended Spring Break for a week.

Travis Tallant, who owns Farmers Insurace, says having his son at home for an extended amount of time could create problems. 

"You realize that it means maybe having to miss work, having to close, making all types of arrangements that you typically wouldn't have to make," Tallant said.

He says owning a business does help him adapt to the changes. 

"Being a business owner, I do have a little bit of flexibility with my job," Tallant said. "Accordingly, being able to pick up my kids or watch them." 

Monday was the first day Nederland ISD students were out of school following Spring Break.

Tallant says it wasn't an issue for him or his kids.

In Port Neches, the same could be said at Mary Jane's Hippie Giftz and Thangz.

Owner Missy Loue says having control of your work has perks. 

"When you own a business, you can bring them to work with you," Loue said.

Loue says keeping her son at home, isn't a big deal...at least right now.

Her fear, falls with businesses plunging as coronavirus concerns grow.

"I can't help but think of how am I going to pay my rent if people don't want to spend their money," Loue said. "All they want to do is buy groceries and toilet paper."

Both Loue and Tallant support the decision the district's decision to cancel class.

"I do because family is absolutely the most important thing," Tallant said.

However, both are concerned for what lies ahead if school closures and panic continue. 

"Through hurricanes, through all kinds of stuff I've seen a lot of stuff close," Tallant said. "I've never seen things close the way they're closing right now."

Loue adds "It's going to be hard for all of us...It's crazy, my gut is hurting."  

In a Facebook post on Monday, Nederland ISD say they plan to wait for Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick's next move before making their decision. (link below)

March 16, 2020 5:00pm Dear Nederland ISD School Community, Nederla... nd ISD has closed all facilities until March 23, 2020. District officials met today with area Superintendents and County Judges at the Region 5 Educational Service Center. We anticipate that Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick will update the County Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency today or tomorrow.

12News also spoke with a local restaurant who voiced their concerns after learning that restaurants in Louisiana and Houston are closing their dining rooms. Local restaurant owners in Southeast Texas are now preparing to rely on different delivery only options. 

Charlie Jones is a co-manager at Daddio's Burger and says they're taking extra precautions these days. Their employees are wearing gloves at all time. 

"We're about to start testing every employee before every shift on temperature with thermometers.", said Jones. 

Even if their dining room has to close, Daddio's Burger is optimistic about their different delivery options. Favor is one of the options they currently offer. 

Lauren Bebeau is a sales executive for the popular delivery app. She also offers consulting services to local restaurants. 

"In times like this, I'm suggesting they all come up with family style portions. That makes great for delivery, you know, everybody wants bulk orders right now, so if you can kind of adapt to the change, staying competitive is gonna keep you  up and have an edge in this market.", said Bebeau. 

While dining room doors are still open, Bebeau says now is the time to support local businesses more than ever. "Right now, if you were to go to a restaurant, you see a few tables filled, but we don't know what that's gonna look like come Thursday or Friday. Things are changing, you just don't know.", said Bebeau. 

Jones says they will continue to take extra cleaning precautions throughout the restaurant. 

RELATED: List: Houston-area school district, university closures amid coronavirus concerns 

RELATED: Coronavirus concerns impact schools across Southeast Texas, all Hardin County schools closing

"You can feel comfortable and safe eating here while we're allowed to have people in our dining room because we're doing everything we can possibly do.", said Jones. 

Monday afternoon, Favor introduced a relief program that entirely waives commission fees for all locally owned and operated restaurants with five or less locations. That includes current partners and those that may be seeking delivery options at this time.

Full statement from Favor:

We recognize growing public health concerns over coronavirus (COVID-19) and the adoption of social distancing practices pose financial challenges to the local restaurant industry. As we navigate through the impacts of COVID-19, our team has been working to develop solutions and resources to support you, our local restaurant partners. Today, we are introducing a relief program that entirely waives Favor’s commission fees, now through the remainder of March, for all locally owned and operated restaurants with five or less locations, including both existing partners and new restaurants that may be seeking delivery options at this time. As one of our independent restaurant partners, you will be automatically enrolled in the relief program and have 0% commission fees associated with any and all Favor orders during the program. Given the evolving situation with many unknowns, the program will waive commission fees on all orders completed today, March 16, through at least March 31. Putting our community first is now more important than ever, and it is our hope that this relief program will help ease the burden during this time of uncertainty. Again, we thank you for your partnership and shared commitment to keeping all Texans fed. If you have any questions about this program, please contact your Account Manager directly or email restaurantrelations@favordelivery.com.  

Keith Duncan
Restaurant Relationships 

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