One of the first things lost in the fight to stop the spread of the COVID-19 was on-site dining for restaurants, both local and around the nation.
Many restaurants responded by shifting gears and finding different ways to serve its patrons. Now, a new website is helping to make it easier for Catoosa County and surrounding area residents to find and enjoy their favorite restaurants’ meals at home.
The site, catoosa.info, was launched Wednesday, April 1, and offers up locations (by city), phone numbers, days and hours of operation and the various methods for placing an order — drive-thru, carry-out, curbside pick-up and delivery — for over 85 restaurants in Catoosa County.
Amy Jackson, president and CEO of the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, said the new site was the work of a collaboration between the Chamber and the Catoosa Economic Development Authority, headed up by Director Keith Barclift.
“We thought this would be a benefit to the community,” Jackson explained. “This is not just for Chamber members. We want to support all businesses in Catoosa County.”
She said an initial survey of restaurants in the area, put out around March 20, received a good response. However, due to rapidly changing guidelines and protocols for dealing with the outbreak, some of the information from that initial survey was no longer accurate. In response, Jackson said the process began to gather the newest and most up-to-date information available.
“We want to make it interactive because, obviously, it could all change by the day or by the week at least,” she continued. “We’re hopeful that some of the businesses that are currently (temporarily) closed will reopen soon and we are in contact with those businesses as well.”
In addition to restaurant information, the new site also includes plenty of other details related to COVID-19, including the federal government’s official coronavirus website and national and state resources for small business owners, which were recently approved as part of the federal stimulus package.
Regional and local resources are also available for the community on the site through the Thrive Regional Partnership, including local grocery store information, and details on the food pick-up and delivery services for the Catoosa County school system.
Jackson added that the Chamber and the Economic Development Authority will be working with federal, state, regional and local officials, agencies and departments to keep the site updated with any new information that becomes available as quickly as possible.
“We’re just trying to get all that out to where the information and resources are usable to show people where to start first,” she said. “We’re hoping to be able to move on, as time permits, and hopefully soon, to some of the retail outlets as well and have listings for those, but we decided to start with the restaurants first.”