Wichita business owners concerned rise in COVID-19 cases could dent recovery efforts

Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 9:52 PM CDT
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Business owners in Wichita are trying to recover their losses after a statewide stay-at-home order limited their operations due to COVID-19.

While business gradually seems to be getting back to normal, some owners are concerned about further impact from increases in COVID-19 cases.

Friday, the Segwick County Health Department reported 25 new cases, bringing the county's total of active cases up to 298. The country reports 500 more people getting tested Friday, but Sedgwick County's testing rate is still below the state average.

In an effort to keep customers and employees healthy, the reopening efforts came with plenty of adjustments.

"We have hand sanitizing stations throughout the restaurant, in the back and the front," said The Kitchen owner Natasha Ghandi-Rue. "...We definitely monitor everybody's health. Everybody knows that if they can't come to work, if they're not feeling well, there's no pressure to come to work, because it's very important that everybody is feeling well."

Ruben's Mexican Grill owner Ruben Acosta said his business is taking similar precautions.

"I got signs on the door. 'If you feel sick, please don't come in,' just to protect ourselves and protect the rest of the customers," Acosta said.

Ghandi-Rue and Acosta said even though operations are running smoothly for now, they worry the increase in COVID-19 cases could impact their businesses.

"Springtime is one of the best times a restaurant is doing business and we lost that. And it's terrifying to think that we would have to close down again," Acosta said.

Ghandi-Rue and Acosta say they would take immediate action if a confirmed COVID-19 case were connected with their restaurants.

"I'm not going to keep my business open if I have somebody who is sick," Acosta says.