While dining rooms across the city are closed to promote social distancing, Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking Houston residents to support local restaurants by purchasing their food and bringing it back home.
Turner said the “Take Us To Your Table” campaign will start next Thursday, April 23. Residents are asked to patronize restaurants — which have been restricted to drive-through, carryout and delivery service since March 17 — every Thursday.
“While you may not be able get a seat at your favorite restaurant right now, they can certainly have a seat at your table,” Turner said. “Every Thursday, please consider ordering takeout or delivery as part of your weekend plans.”
Turner also announced Thursday that ExxonMobil is donating $100,000 to the Texas Restaurant Association’s TX Restaurant Relief Fund, which will support Houston-area restaurants, their staffs and, in turn, first responders. In a statement on the Texas Restaurant Association’s website, president and CEO Emily Williams Knight said the donation will help participating restaurants hire back up to 50 percent of their furloughed employees.
The funds from the oil and gas company also will be used to help Houston-area chefs prepare and deliver about 6,000 individually packaged meals — or between 100 and 200 per day — to Texas Medical Center hospitals, the Houston Police Foundation, the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston and the Spring Fire Department.
Cameron James, the president elect of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association, which is a local affiliate of the statewide organization, said the Houston area has more than 12,000 restaurants and 350,000 restaurant employees. He said the community restrictions in place to fight the spread of COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, has put all those businesses and workers in jeopardy.
The economic effects also have been felt by those who supply food to restaurants, James said, including farmers and restaurants.
“They are all at risk,” James said. “We need everyone’s support right now to get through this, otherwise your favorite restaurant won’t be here when this pandemic is over.”