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Federal American Grill opens to dine-in customers, despite Abbott, Hidalgo's orders

The restaurant's precautions are posted up front, and they include disposable menus, spacing out tables, even hands-free payment.

HOUSTON — It’s the first night for dine-in customers for one restaurant in Hedwig Village.

The owner says he’s following the rules set by his local mayor to allow customers to eat inside his restaurant, but that’s breaking both the county judge and the governor’s rules.

For the first time in over a month, the restaurant is seating customers.

“It's fabulous. It's wonderful. Its careful. I've been waiting forever to have someone bring you a drink and wait on you. It feels so nice," one couple who ate there said.

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Matt Brice, owner of Federal American Grill, said he couldn’t take it any longer, being closed to dine-in customers.

“Again, I have a heart. I don’t want anybody to die from this virus. I don’t want to. But I feel like if you’re going to have these other businesses open, we’re going to do a better job than them," Brice said.

His precautions are posted up front, and they include disposable menus, spacing out tables, even hands-free payment.

“We take up more parameters than, I promise, almost any other business out there," Brice said.

Brice said he’s following the rules of a newly issued proclamation from the Mayor of Hedwig Village, allowing restaurants to open if they follow certain guidelines.

But this conflicts with both Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Governor Greg Abbott’s stay-home orders.

So whose rule does he follow?

“Probably all of them. You know, it’s hard. The one that I did listen to is the mayor of Hedwig," Brice said.

Judge Hidalgo said it's sad that a restaurant is defying her order.

“I hope folks think twice before putting their community at risk, themselves at risk and their healthcare workers at risk," Hidalgo said.

Her office said they can take actions, if they want, to shut him down.

“I'm just going to do the right thing. And I know this is the right thing, and I'll suffer the repercussions if there’s any," Brice said.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.