Restaurants expect lower turnout on Cinco De Mayo

Coronavirus in North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Cinco De Mayo is typically a big draw for businesses, but a Charlotte restaurant owner says this year’s statewide ‘Stay-At-Home’ order will result in decreased customer turnout.

Several local restaurants will offer discounts and specials in the hopes of attracting people to order takeout. Currently, restaurants in North Carolina cannot serve customers in-person unless it’s to-go.

Maria Sorta is the owner of Maria’s Mexican Restaurant on South Boulevard. She opened the business in 2008. The pandemic is a challenge she wasn’t expecting.

“I have been working so hard to keep my business open during the pandemic,” she said.

Sorta says that Cinco De Mayo is one of her most profitable days of the year, especially in bar sales. But state law prevents her from selling the restaurant’s signature alcoholic drinks.

“They drink a lot of margaritas, tequilas, but not this year,” Sorta said.

The pandemic has forced her business to slow down both in customers and cash flow. Sorta is applying to government loan programs for help. She’s hoping her application to the Paycheck Protection Program will be approved.

While she waits, she’s had to make tough business decisions to stay afloat, including laying off two of her employees and rotating the cooks in the kitchen.

Sorta’s struggles reflect many of the hardships small businesses across the country are going through during the pandemic.

“We need people to come and buy,” Sorta said. “I just want to say thank you to the customers are who are buying.”

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