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Curbside pickup becoming the new normal for Hampton Roads restaurants

"You can still get those same great meals. It just might be in a little different fashion than what you are accustomed to."

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — What’s open and what’s not? It’s the newest challenge facing Hampton Roads customers looking for their next meal.

Governor Ralph Northam ordered a ban on businesses serving 10 people or more at a time. Now, the biggest challenge is for business owners to keep sales going.

Restaurant owners like Croc’s 19th Street Bistro Owner Laura Wood Habr tried to find ways to pass the time Wednesday night. Habr was maintaining the garden out front of her restaurant while she waited for customers.

“Being in the hospitality industry, we are always supposed to have a smile, carry on and the show must go on,” Habr said. “I think that is kind of the spirit.”

Now, signs are popping up across Hampton Roads that advertise to-go orders and designated pick up spots out front of restaurants.

“You call Grubhub and have it delivered,” Habr said. “Or if you have to get out you can give us a call and pick it up right here.” 

Still, empty seats are hard for owners to take.

“I look around and I go what has happened here,” said Rockafeller’s Restaurant owner BJ Baumann.

Baumann opened Rockafeller’s 30 years ago and now faces letting longtime staff go.

“Decreasing hours, layoffs, it’s hard,” Baumann said.

The restrictions hurt, but as the president of the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association, she said all businesses should comply.

“If you have restaurants that are not following it that is going to ruin it for the rest of us,” Baumann said. “Because all of a sudden, instead of us getting this under control in four weeks it may take six weeks.”

Right now, she said they need the community’s support.

“You can still get those same great meals,” Baumann said. “It just might be in a little different fashion than what you are accustomed to.”

Baumann and Habr hope that support will help them push ahead to the summer season.

“Just keep the positive outlook, this too shall pass," Habr said.

Croc’s will also be the spot for a drive-thru farmer’s market this weekend. It’s a community push to support local farmers who rely on the market. 

This Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. the Old Beach Farmers Market will be set up in a drive-thru fashion behind the restaurant. Organizers said people need to order ahead online. Find more details on their Facebook page.

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