Restaurant worker: ‘Every time the phone is ringing, I’m like thank God’ for takeout

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SEATTLE -- Restaurants are having different experiences through the temporary shutdown because of COVID-19.

Sushi Samurai in the Upper Queen Anne neighborhood is keeping up with the steady orders coming in for takeout.

Sushi Chef Ben Maranon said the restaurant has been in business for about seven years, and he has a good relationship with his customers.

“We’ve been blessed that people still want to support us in this time of crisis,” said Maranon.

The State of Washington closed down restaurants as well as bars and entertainment and recreational venues through March 31 to prevent people from gathering in large groups and encourage social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Maranon said pickup and delivery orders are reaching upwards of 75 percent of regular business sales when it usually sits around 25 to 30 percent.

Unfortunately, that same stroke of luck is not consistent at all restaurants.

Raul Rivera is a server at El Mezcalito just down the road. Between lunch and dinner on Monday, the restaurant only had eight takeout orders.

On Tuesday, the Mexican restaurant on Queen Anne Avenue North only received two takeout orders between 11 a.m. and about 5 p.m.

“Hopefully it picks up. Every time the phone is ringing I’m like thank God,” said Rivera. “It’s very different because when you’re working in a restaurant as a server, you’re used to running around, taking people’s orders, talking to people and now I’m just sitting there waiting for someone to call.”

Though uncertainty is weighing on restaurant owners and workers, they are feeling gratitude toward customers showing them support.

“We literally appreciate anything that they buy. Chips and guacamole. Something small, because that’s our job,” said Rivera. “So we really do appreciate it.”

“I just want to thank everyone in the community in the State of Washington for people supporting the local businesses,” said Maranon.

Maranon is hopeful the state will lift the ban on in-person dining at restaurants after March 31.

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