HOUSTON, Texas — It’s the first day "Stay Home, Work Safe" orders have gone into effect for some counties in and around the Houston area.

Many nonessential businesses have closed but crucial ones remain open.

Like at Romano’s Pizza, where up close it appears it's business as usual.

Frank Fragale, owner of the Italian restaurant said, “Our loyal customers, our regulars, they’ve really been stepping it up for us.”

However, from afar the restaurant is just one of a handful of businesses that can stay open during Harris County’s Stay Home, Work Safe order.

Fragale said, “Our business has definitely tailed off a tad bit. We’re used to having that nice lunch crowd inside of the restaurant, which we’ve yet to have.”

Restaurants serving food through takeout or delivery are considered essential at this time.

Essential Businesses open
KHOU

Others like Azteca Farmers Market are welcoming customers as the community practices social distancing.

The market’s general manager Jesus Rodriguez said, “It seems like whenever there’s a rumor that everything’s going to shut down or that causes little crowds to come out here and there. Right now, it’s slow.”

Under the order, farmers markets and grocery stores do not have to close.

Rodriguez said, “We have several vendors that if somebody is nervous about leaving their car, leaving their house, it’s a good way for people to really isolate and keep their distance for others. They can just drive-thru.”

The order covers 16 sectors deemed critical.

Under public works for instance, maid services can operate because they maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences.

For now places like Romano’s are just trying to keep the workday looking and feeling the same until things get back to normal.

“We’re all going to get through this so let’s just keep pushing,” Fragale said.

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