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Bastrop County preparing for coronavirus impact

The county opened a testing site on Tuesday and, as of Tuesday night, has one positive case of COVID-19.

AUSTIN, Texas — On most days, you could drive down Main Street in Bastrop and pop into any restaurant, like Neighbor's Kitchen and Yard or Anita's Mexican Restaurant. But now, just like many places across the state, they've reduced their operations to just delivery or pick-up and have temporarily closed their doors. 

It's all part of the effort to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Bastrop County has not issued a stay-at-home order like Travis and Williamson counties have, but Bastrop County did open a testing site on Tuesday. As of Tuesday, the county has reported one positive case of COVID-19. 

"In order to have access to this site, you must have a written referral from a Medical Healthcare Provider," a Facebook post on the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management page reads.

On Tuesday night, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape said in a written statement, “I am drafting a Stay at Home type order to be discussed with local Mayors and the County Commissioners Court. This is only in the draft-and-discuss phase, a part of preparing for the worst while hoping and praying for the best.”  

Right now, businesses in the county say they're already feeling the impact. 

“I would prefer the chaos of a crazy Saturday night over the stillness of an empty restaurant," said Tom Dickey, the co-owner of Neighbor's. “We were running hard and fast."

Recently he said they've seen just 10% of their normal business, though customers are still ordering through their delivery and curbside pick-up service. 

Dickey also said he had to reduce the staff by around 70% but will re-hire those employees as soon as he's able to. 

“Each and every one of them will get the callback," Dickey said. “We’re not going be victims to this, but we’re going to find out a way to adapt our business model to work our way through this – failure’s not an option for us."

The restaurant also started selling Community Supported Agriculture Boxes. 

We are SOLD OUT of boxes for this week. Working on availability for... next week - we will start taking orders on Monday at noon. Thank you for your support! Supplement your fresh boxes with a take our order of pizza, wings or appetizers - not to mention Margarita Survival kits.

At Anita's Mexican Restaurant, they've also seen just 10% of their normal business but have been selling food through take-out. 

“It’s a little bit scary, but I think we’re going to get through this pretty soon," said co-owner Roberta Borrego. “I’m just worried also about my workers."

She also said the community of business owners in town has been supportive of each other. 

“I go to their restaurant, they come to my restaurant," Borrego said. “I really hope Bastrop becomes better in a couple of weeks or so."

WATCH: Restaurant bingo to help support local businesses during COVID-19 shutdown


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