MISSOULA, Mont. — On Monday, Missoula City-County Health officials announced an order closing bars and limiting restaurant service starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday through 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 24.
The health department is doing this to follow guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control.
“It’s not just about money, it’s really about the ethics of being open right now,” said co-owner of Burns St. Bistro Jason McMackin.
Before the announcement that restaurants will limit food service to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we spoke with local business owners who took initiative before being told to do so.
“This is something brand new for folks,” explained co-owner of Black Coffee Roasting Co. Matt McQuilkin.
“In a community like Missoula, it’s been really interesting to see local business owners really take the initiative to be proactive and get ahead of what is happening here,” said McQuilkin.
On Monday, Black Coffee Roasting Co. decided they would take away the seats in their dining area and only offer to-go service.
This came after talking to other local business owners, like McMackin, who is part owner of Burns St. Bistro.
On Monday morning the bistro only offered to-go orders, but by the end of the day decided to close completely per the health department’s announcement.
There are over 40 employees between the two businesses.
“One of the hardest things for me is just hoping that the people that rely on me for jobs will be OK,” said McQuilkin.
McMackin says he is really hoping the government will do something to protect employees and business owners during the moratorium.
“We can be closed for a while, and there’s going to come a point where we’re just out of money, and that’s the end; unless we get some government help, you’re going to see a much different state, town, country for that matter,” added McMackin.