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With experience from pandemic, businesses prepared for Houston Restaurant Weeks

Brennan's of Houston's general manager says his staff is more prepared than ever for Houston Restaurant Weeks thanks to pandemic protocols.

HOUSTON — Restaurants have been pivoting since the pandemic began. Now they’re facing yet another hurdle: growing concern surrounding the Delta variant.

“Restaurant business is tough to begin with. This has made it all the more challenging,” said Carl Walker, Brennan's of Houston general manager.

But as Walker and his staff get ready for Houston Restaurant Weeks, which in the past has been one of their busiest times of the year, he says they do so more prepared than ever thanks to pandemic protocols.

“In the very beginning, it was almost like panic, you know, because there were all the different things that were coming," Walker said. "We didn’t really know. Now we’re much more educated.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Walker says Brennan’s has followed Texas Restaurant Association requirements, which now requires employees to wear a face covering and pass a health screening before their shifts.

He says they’ve also has made a hefty investment in UV light technology to improve air quality and for the foreseeable future will going back to social distancing practices, using all 11 dining rooms, and taking on stricter protocols as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

“Here we are...look at how long it’s been. And we’re still learning. But the practices come easier,” Walker said.

After reeling last year and still being at a lower capacity during Restaurant Weeks, executive chef Matt Staph believes his kitchen will be able to rebound this year and give back even more to the community with a portion of proceeds from each meal going to the Houston Food Bank.

“It’s a lot of fun. Giving back is something I’m always looking forward to doing. I just hope we’re able to keep up with the demand,” Staph said.

And if consumers are looking for alternatives to dining in like take-out or outdoor dining, restaurants participating offer those options.

For a complete list of restaurants participating in Houston Restaurant Weeks, click here.