One of Tuscaloosa’s staple restaurants had to adapt in order to continue to serve customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We definitely have to reinvent ourselves,” said Jheovanny Gomez, the owner of Jalapeños Mexican Grill. “We definitely have to adjust for the new normal.”

Many cities in the U.S. are now requiring restaurants to close for dine-in business for an indefinite time, which impacts both fine and casual dining in a big way.

“We had to transfer over to just doing curbside, take out,” Gomez said. “We’re doing good and we finally have a system going to help us, to help us satisfy our customers to get our stuff in a timely manner.”

While dine-in may be allowed in the near future, Gomez believes that the pandemic will continue to impact his business.

“We understand that we’re just going to have half capacity,” Gomez said. “Even with that we’re being proactive with training our employees and first of all our main concerns are the safety and the health of our employees and our customers so we’re making sure we follow protocols and those guidelines and make sure we follow them.”

Gomez is excited to return to business as usual, but is worried that a return too soon may spell disaster.

“I’m afraid that if we open back up right now and we get floated by people, that two to three weeks later we’ll be forced to shut down again so that’s kind of my worries there but we’re ready either way to step up and do what we need to do,” Gomez said.

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