SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Restaurants everywhere are closing their dining rooms and switching to takeout only in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
This empty dining room at Sanaa’s 8th Street Gourmet is a sad sight for owner Sanaa Abourezk.
“At this point, honestly, whatever you want, I’ll cook it. Just come and pick up something,” Abourezk said.
The restaurant switched to carry out and delivery only on the 16th. For someone who loves interacting with the community she serves, the change is challenging her spirit.
“For me it was like my family. I’m sorry. Ok,” Abourezk said.
Joined by her core employees, Abourezk is still open. She wants to keep her staff and is also paying employees who want to stay home during this tough time.
“For many reasons. You have the income. You have the people. I see people every day. The normality, just being normal. When I see my neighbor, I don’t want to stand back if I have good news. I want to hug the person,” Abourezk said.
Carry out and to-go orders weren’t Sanaa’s specialty before the coronavirus pandemic. They were actually about 1% of her business.
Some days she’s getting three orders and others, 25.
“There’s no blaming anybody and we understand everything. But if you decide to go out to pick up food, consider all these restaurants. Not only me, all the restaurants,” Abourezk said.
Abourezk says the restaurant is doing extra cleaning during this time. On top of the coronavirus, it’s also fighting the nearby 8th St. bridge closure.
“Don’t remind me. It’s like, OK God, bring it on,” Abourezk said.
“We need your support so when this is over, we’ll all be better together,” Abourezk said.
Sanaa’s has altered its hours like many other businesses during this time. To see a full list of restaurants and their statuses, we’ve put together a special page for you at KELOLAND.com. You can find a link to it in this story on our website. Abourezk says another way to support local restaurants is through the purchase of gift cards.