MCKINNEY, Texas — If you want to see the impact of the virus, just walk through historic downtown McKinney. There are signs on the front windows of many establishments about reduced hours or complete closures.
And a very rare site: empty chairs in front of The Celt on St. Patrick's Day.
"It was wall-to-wall people. Upstairs and downstairs...people were waiting to get in," The Celt owner Stan Penn recalled, thinking of the 700 or so people who funneled through his pub last year on St. Patrick's Day.
Penn told WFAA that this day is the most important day of the year. He likens it to "Black Friday" for big box stores. On Tuesday, he'll lose 80% of his business because of this new coronavirus and its crippling impacts.
The City of McKinney has followed Dallas and now Fort Worth's lead in limiting shops to take-out only. In McKinney, before Friday bars and restaurants will have to strictly follow social distance guidelines and allow only half the building capacity.
"The costs to underreact for our city are just too great, much greater than the cost of overreacting," said McKinney Mayor George Fuller.
Late Tuesday night in a 6-0 vote, the City of Plano also announced that bars and restaurants would be limited to drive-thru or take-out orders until April 27, and theaters and gyms would be completely closed.
Mckinney was the first city in Collin County to put out an order limiting bars and restaurants.
Many cities have also made emergency declarations this week.
"If we want to do something about the virus, we have to all do this together," said Penn.
The mayor told WFAA that these times have also severely impacted his own business. He believes the other cities will come around.
"Not trying to set a record for being the first city, but we are going to do what we think is prudent to do," Fuller said.
More on WFAA:
- Tarrant County judge says he needs to consult with mayors before shutting businesses amid COVID-19 outbreak
- Dallas Co. Judge pressures governor to institute statewide closure of bars, restaurants, gyms
- Church in Pleasant Grove provides resources for families during coronavirus crisis
- LIST: Dallas-Fort Worth area business closings