Restaurants across Utah have been ordered to suspend dine-in service to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to a press release shared by Gov. Gary Herbert’s office Tuesday evening — but even before this decision, restaurants in the Weber-Morgan area were hurting for business.
“We are dead,” said Tyler Lathrop, owner of Good Life Cafe and Micro Juicery in downtown Ogden. “25th Street is a ghost town.”
Lathrop said business usually picks up for her this time of year — people like to drop by to get her fresh, organic food and eat it on the patio in sunshine.
But business has been worse than last month, when the weather wasn’t as pleasant, she said. On Saturday, the cafe did half the amount of business it usually does.
“This is slower than it was during the government shutdown,” Lathrop said, referring to the federal government shutdown in early 2019.
Restaurants will still be allowed to offer curbside, drive-thru, pickup, and delivery options, the press release says. The statewide suspension of dine-in service goes into effect Wednesday, March 18, at 11:59 p.m. and will last for two weeks, when it will be reevaluated.
To support these businesses through their difficulties, Visit Ogden and Ogden Downtown Alliance have compiled a list of restaurants and contact information on a webpage called “Support Ogden Dining” — so community members can more easily place phone or online orders for pickup.
Many restaurants have already started offering additional pickup options, said Kim Bowsher, executive director of Ogden Downtown Alliance.
Ogden City also put out signs along 25th Street, reserving parking spots for people stopping to get their pickup orders.
“I hope that throughout this process, more economic resources become available from federal, state and local municipality level,” Bowsher said. “But all of that is going to take a minute to catch up to what’s happening.”
Fortunately for restaurants and other businesses that are suffering, low interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration became available to eligible Utah businesses Tuesday, Bowsher said, and more information on these loans is likely to be available soon, according to Weber County commissioners.
In the meantime, patronizing restaurants by placing pickup orders or buying gift cards is one way to help.
“People want something to do to take action and support; I think that’s something you can do,” Bowsher said.
Salt Lake County Health Department declared a public health emergency and issued a health order Monday afternoon that prohibited dining at restaurants, but still allowed for takeout, curbside, pickup and drive-through options. To survive this restriction, restaurants in the area banded together to create a website streamlining pickup orders — very similar to list that has been created for Ogden restaurants.
Tim Vandenack contributed to this report. Contact reporter Megan Olsen at email@example.com or 801-625-4227. Follow her on Twitter at