This past week, local businesses like Vela Farms on the Square had an opportunity to open their doors to customers, as long as they abided by the governor's mandate to open at 25% capacity.

Sara Vela, owner of Vela Farms on the Square in downtown Victoria offers her thoughts on reopening as well as offering her appreciation and thoughts for the community.

"The most important reason we had to open, was to get some real one on one time with our customers. It was important for us to see their faces in person. We love our regulars coming in even if at 25% capacity, which has been difficult.

Sara offers that from a financial standpoint, opening at 25% capacity was a necessity but still a struggle. Vela Farms offers a lunch buffet that no longer works during social distancing. Luckily for Vela Farms on the Square, their menu was diversified. " Our casseroles and to-go items are really helping!" Sara says while adding with complete candor, "Even at 25% the numbers still fall short. "25% of our restaurant capacity is 12 people. And we, like all businesses who are at 25% capacity still have to pay our expenses at 100%." Sara says.

On top of that, restaurants like Vela Farms on the Square, have to cope with increasing grocery prices, shortages, and backorders. " Ground beef has risen 40 to 50 cents higher per pound since March. And it's still getting higher." Sara eludes.

This begs the question, if Gov. Abbott increases the capacity to 50% in the next two weeks, likely on May 18th, pending another wave of COVID, will 50% be enough for restaurants to get back on target?

" Likely, most Mom and Pop restaurants will still struggle at 50 % because restaurant margins are just so small." Sara says while also offering, " Now, that being said, keep in mind we are grateful for everyone that comes through those doors. I am sure all Mom and Pop restaurants feel the same way. I really want to encourage Victoria to consider ordering from a Mom and Pop, now more than ever. Last Friday I was out for lunchtime and tons of corporate restaurants with drive-thrus were packed. It might seem insignificant but it's huge. Please think about the locally owned little guys." Sara smiles warmly.

"Yes, it is incredibly challenging right now, but we are so grateful for all of the customers we have."

Well said Mrs. Vela.

Shop local and shop Mom and Pop!

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