After several days of being required to close their businesses well in advance of 12 a.m. due to the curfew, Houston’s restaurants are ready to return to normal now that the restriction has been lifted.
Houston mayor Sylvester Turner announced yesterday that he was lifting the curfew in most of Space City, with the exception of a few areas (like neighborhoods in West Houston) that are still flooded. That timing was pretty crucial for Houston restaurants, who have still been trying to make payroll, pay sales tax, and keep their employees in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
In a Facebook post, Houston bar owner Bobby Heugel expressed his frustration at how the curfew was being handled by the city, especially in terms of how Turner communicated with residents and businesses as the curfew dragged on. “If the Mayor is going to enforce an enormous change in how the city operates, impacting thousands of people, he needs to talk about the policy in a clear and informative manner,” Heugel wrote.
Fortunately for The Hay Merchant’s Kevin Floyd, things weren’t so bad in Montrose. Floyd’s restaurants, including Underbelly and One Fifth, didn’t see hardly any structural damage. But according to Floyd, the lifting of the curfew came at exactly the right time. “ If the curfew had extended any longer, it would have impacted our business,” Floyd tells Eater. “When we first opened, our customers were so glad to have a place to go for a sense of normalcy—we were busy, and our customers were generous with our staff. But if the curfew had lasted longer, I’m sure Hay Merchant would have felt it.”
Now, Floyd and pretty much every other restaurateur in the city is trying to get back to business as usual. “We’re still not fully staffed because several of our employees are still dealing with Harvey issues,” he says. “So our staff that wasn’t affected will need to work more hours until the others can come back in.”