COVID-19 And Businesses: New Restaurant Websites; H-E-B Confident In Supply; New Data Plans Offered | Texas Public Radio

COVID-19 And Businesses: New Restaurant Websites; H-E-B Confident In Supply; New Data Plans Offered

Mar 19, 2020

Grocery stores, drug stores, phone companies, restaurants and food delivery companies continue to make adjustments to business practices during the coronavirus crisis

Here are the latest details on those changes to operations and other policies:

Restaurants

A new website has been launched to see which restaurants and other food related businesses are open and offering takeout.

SATakeOut.com provides an interactive map for San Antonians to locate eating establishments, their hours of operation, and their food offerings.

The website is the brainchild of Belkis Lane, an equipment and supply specialist at Mission Restaurant Supply, who said she launched it as a community service and not to monetize it.

More than 520 restaurants and food related businesses are already listed. Restaurants not listed have the option of signing up at the website too.

The city has also created a special website for restaurants, specifically for customers still craving their favorite dishes. Check it out here.

Mi Tierra sold much of its food because its dining hall had to close to the public.
Credit Nathan Cone | Texas Public Radio

Restaurant owners may also add their establishments to the list.

Businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak may find assistance from Culinaria Emergency Relief Fund, San Antonio Tip Jar, Bartender Emergency Assistance Program and Dining Bonds Initiative.

UberEats / DoorDash / Grubhub

Uber Eats is waiving for delivery fees for restaurants.

Uber is also offering no contact deliveries to homes by leaving orders on doorsteps as restaurants seal meals with tamper-evident packaging.

It also plans to donate 300,000 free meals to first responders and health care workers in the U.S. and Canada.

Food delivery service company Door Dash will also offer a no contact delivery option for customers, and its delivery personnel are using hand sanitizer and gloves while on the job.

Grubhub is temporarily suspending collection of up to $100 million in commission payments from impacted independent restaurants whose on-site dining is suffering as diners stay home.

H-E-B

HEB says there is no need for stockpiling now that a stay home order is in place.

Store hours remain 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to allow for sanitizing and stocking of stores.

People wait to enter H-E-B.
Credit Paul Flahive | Texas Public Radio

HEB also added the latest precautions of placing decals on the floor to indicate where customers should stand to maintain six feet of social distancing and placing plexiglass shields at checkout stations.

Customer entry into stores is also limited at times to practice social distancing.

The grocery chain reports they have received offers of volunteer help, but they say the best way for customers to help them is to bag their own groceries, throw away trash in carts and return carts to the front of the store.

They also suggest shopping for neighbors in need.

Also, H-E-B, in partnership with Favor Delivery, has launched a simple, low-cost solution that gives seniors access to their own personal shopper by phone, allowing them to get essential food and supplies delivered to them at home. Seniors across Texas, age 60 and older, can place orders with Favor using a curated list of products available from H-E-B.

Walmart

Walmart has just launched a “senior hour.” Every Tuesday through April 28th, seniors 60 and older can shop for one before current business hours.

Walmart store hours are 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at most locations. Floor decals and sneeze guards are planned for stores.

Also, the store is hiring 15,000 new associates through the end of May for stores, clubs, distribution, and fulfillment centers to keep up with customer demand placed on the retailer by the coronavirus.

More than 100,000 are being hired nationwide. Visit Walmartcareers.com to apply.

It also recently announced plans to pay $365 million in bonuses to associates for working through the health crisis and emergency leave to associates who may be impacted by the illness.

Target

Target has stopped accepting in-store product returns and exchanges through mid-April, but say returns will be honored for a three week period after that.

Its checkers will not handle reusable bags, so customers need to be prepared to bag their own. Checkout lanes will be cleaned after every transaction.

Stores are still closing at at 9 p.m. for cleaning and stocking. They are reserving the hour between 8 a.m. and 9.a.m. for seniors and those with underlying medical conditions.

Most Targets are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Walgreens / CVS

Most stores are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m weekdays. The 24 hour stores are drive through only, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

There is a senior day every Tuesday for customers 55 and older from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. It's also waiving delivery fees on eligible home deliveries.

Credit Pixabay

Store and pharmacy hours can vary slightly, so call ahead to be sure.

CVS is also waiving delivery fees on eligible home deliveries.

Whole Foods

Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Seniors 60 and older are welcome to shop one hour before regular business hours. Reusable beverage containers will not be refilled and self-serve areas are closed. Social distancing procedures in place.

Dollar General

Dollar General is devoting the first hour of store operations to senior citizens shoppers, who are among people at-risk to COVID-19. They will receive priority so they may better avoid crowds and access a greater variety and amount of products.

Also, several Dollar General stores close one hour earlier to better enable employees to restock shelves.

Verizon

More people are working from home during the coronavirus outbreak and using more data to get their jobs done.

Verizon is adding an additional 15GB to all consumer and small business plans at no extra charge starting Wednesday. The 15GB of additional 4G LTE hotspot data applies to their unlimited customers -- to power laptops, tablets and other connected devices.

It also means 15 additional gigabytes of data for those on shared data plans.

Verizon will not terminate service, and it will waive late fees. They are also offering affordable new internet options for low income households.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has introduced T-Mobile Connect and claims it is its lowest price smartphone plan yet.

It has also added lower-cost options for Metro by T-Mobile to help ensure everyone has a more affordable option to stay connected.

Sprint

Customers on an unlimited data plan with Boost Mobile have received an additional 20 gigs of mobile hotspot on their plans at no additional cost through April 30th.

Customers on a tiered plan with Boost Mobile have received an additional 20 gigs of data on their plan at no cost through April 30th.

AT&T

AT&T is suspending broadband usage caps for home internet customers. AT&T reports its Wi-Fi calling soared 78% Monday versus a Monday before the virus outbreak.

Malls

North Star Mall is temporarily closed except for essential restaurants with exterior facing entrances.

La Cantera, devoid of shoppers.
Credit Kathleen Creedon | Texas Public Radio

Ingram Park Mall is closed except for essential retailers. South Park Mall is also closed.

Store hours at The Rim could vary, so call ahead to individual outlets. Some bars and restaurants will still offer take out food.

At the Shops at La Cantera, some stores with exterior facing entrances may be open. Call ahead.

Outlets at the Forum At Olympia Parkway have adjusted their hours. Some stores have closed and other times vary. Call ahead to individual stores.

Dry cleaners

Slater & White continues to offer 24 hour drop off service for dry cleaning. Rose Cleaners and Comet Cleaners are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Comet also offers free home and office delivery and pickup. Five Star Cleaners is also open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

VIA Transit

VIA Transit officials announced a systemwide fare relief period for all VIA fixed-route bus service, VIA transtrips and VIA Link on-demand services.

Fares will be suspended beginning until 1 a.m. on April 1.

In a statement, officials said they will then evaluate the situation and provide an update for moving ahead.

“We realize that public transit is a necessity for many in our community every day and perhaps especially during a crisis, including those whose work is essential during emergencies, or who may rely on transit as their only means of travel to workplaces, meal distribution sites, critical service centers, or other necessary trips,” the statement said.

Assistance for businesses

Small businesses in Texas are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business, at an interest rate of 3.75 percent. Businesses are eligible if they do not have credit available elsewhere.

The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster's impact. Long term repayments can be made for a maximum of 30 years.

Norma Martinez contributed to this report.
Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.