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Austin's restaurants have had a tough year. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, hospitals nearing capacity and Stage 5 COVID-19 risk-based guidelines in effect, some Austin eateries have taken it upon themselves to put "flattening the curve" on the menu.


After a year of strife and strain on the food industry, the latest Stage 5 recommendations have put extra strain on restaurant owners, leaving them between a rock and a hard place. Since the guidelines are just recommendations, not orders, owners are left with the choice to stay open and risk infection or close and lose money.

The guidelines recommend shuttering dine-in services, limiting outdoor dining to 50% and closing down at 10:30 p.m.

Although the guidelines just went into effect on Wednesday, these restaurants have already voluntarily closed their dining rooms.

P. Terry's

P. Terry's announced on Saturday that it would close dining rooms at all burger stands and Taco Ranch locations effective immediately, though drive-thru and delivery will still be open.

DrinkWell

DrinkWell, located at 207 E. 53rd St., closed its dine-in services on Wednesday, the same day Austin moved into Stage 5, though pickup and curbside options are still available.

"We are closing dine-in services voluntarily as a way to do our part to support our community in lowering the impact of COVID-19 for our guests and the staff here at DrinkWell," the restaurant said on Instagram.

Old Thousand

Old Thousand, located at 1000 E. 11th St., made the decision to close Sunday but remains open for takeout. Its second location, at 4805 Burnet Road, was not mentioned in the temporary closure.

Eldorado Cafe

Eldorado Cafe, located at 3300 W. Anderson Lane, is one of the rare restaurants that has had their dining room closed through the entirety of the pandemic. Now is no different, as the restaurant plans to reopen indoor dining in 2021.

L'Oca d'Oro

Likewise, L'Oca d'Oro, located at 1900 Simond Avenue, has kept customers from dining in for months, trying to adapt to the pandemic in other ways, like starting a subscription service.

More than 110,000 restaurants—or nearly 1 out of every 5 establishments—have shut down nationally since the pandemic started, according to a recent survey. Locally, it has meant Austin has said goodbye to iconic spots like Shady Grove, Threadgill's and Magnolia Cafe on Lake Austin, among others.

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