COVID in Texas: Restaurants eager to do business as cases ease

After the COVID outbreak in December and January, DFW began to see significant decreases in cases and hospitalizations.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Restaurants and bars in Dallas-Fort Worth are expecting a busy weekend with Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day falling on a Monday.

As COVID spiked around New Years and through late January, dining in the Dallas-Fort Worth area plummeted. Open Table noted a roughly 20% drop in diners compared to the same period in 2019.

Now, cases across the station — and the country — are down.

“The demand is huge for Valentine’s Day,” said Adam Jones, owner of Grace and Little Red Wasp restaurants in Fort Worth.

Jones said business has been improving for several months now after initially dropping COVID.

“Customers who don’t want to go out, don’t go out – could always do the sidewalk,” he said.

This weekend, Grace doesn’t have a single table available from Friday to Monday.

“I’ve been on Main Street for 30 years,” he says. “It’s never been so busy.”

Parkland Health was overwhelmed with COVID hospitalizations in January, but the number of COVID patients fell 80% in three weeks. North Texas has seen a 40% decline and nearly all COVID patients are unvaccinated.

“Things are so much better than just a few weeks ago,” Chief Medical Officer Joseph Chang said. “The interesting thing about this wave is that it’s been so narrow.”

The UT Southwestern researchers said last week’s winter storm will also reduce cases as most people stayed home.

Chang said spending time with others is important for mental health.

“We have to do it, but we have to do it safely,” he said. “I mean, that’s it, isn’t it?” Be smart about it. To get vaccinated.”

Jones said the musical hamilton performing in Fort Worth was also a boost for business, but don’t expect to find any empty seats this weekend.

“Call it pent up demand, call it what you want, we’ve been busy,” he said. “Guests want to go out. They want to be back with their friends.