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Let's help restaurants stay afloat

Hannah Flanagan's announces the closing of its dine-in service. Hannah Flanagan's announces the closing of its dine-in service.

Restaurants and craft breweries, the enduring lifeblood of downtown Hendersonville, stopped serving sit-down meals and pouring pints at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, casting an eerie quiet on the usually bustling Main Street.

Restaurants posted signs, some with frowny faces, announcing the closing and pitching their takeout and delivery options. Sanctuary Brewing Co. was pouring $4 pints beer up until 5, and promoting to-go growlers from 4 to 7 after that. The corona virus shutdown had silenced the dining scene, from Never Blue to Postero.

It was not just 5 o'clock somewhere, it was 5 o'clock here — but no matter. No matter, either, that it was St. Paddy's Day, always a big day at Hannah Flanagan's. A couple of blocks up, the Dugout was still advertising traditional Irish dishes — Guinness stew with lamb, corned beef and cabbage, a reuben, bangers and mash — they would get no chance to serve.

"Hi y'all," Moe's barbecue announced on a hand-scrawled sign. "We will be open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and doing takeouts and call-ins only. We are doing everything we can to keep up with the constantly changing federal and local guidelines."

The dining and entertainment dollar has nowhere to go now, as we contemplate to-go orders from our many excellent locally owned restaurants, as we feel regret knowing that "Charlotte's Web" and the Hot Club of Cowtown would have been splendid shows to take in. Below, under the stars, you can read about how to help our restaurants and small businesses stay afloat in these unprecedented times. I know I will. I hope everyone will. This is Day 1 and I already miss the joy of dining out!

"We'll get through this," people say. "This too will pass."

But I think we owe it to our community and to one another and to the cooks in the back to be more aggressive in surviving. We need to help our favorite restaurants and shops, the places that have served our favorite slice or poured our favorite pint. If we want them to be there when this over, we need to support them now.

"KEEP CALM," the Flat Rock Playhouse implores the driving public on its non-digital analog wooden sign, "and the show will go on."

Funny thing is, this is the show right now.

It's unlike any show we have seen before.

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The Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Downtown Hendersonville and concerned community members have partnered to develop lovehendo.com as a local response to the current crisis facing restaurants and other local businesses as a result of COVID-19. Lovehendo.com is an online gathering of information on how customers can still support local businesses as we navigate the social distancing mandates.
Small business that have gift cards for sale or are making changes to continue to serve customers while respecting the social distancing recommendations and mandates may fill out a form here. The site is accepting listings and the page is set to launch Thursday.
There are many ways people can work together to support small businesses through this time. Check out lovehendo.com for a one-stop-shop for gift cards and information on how to keep supporting your favorite local businesses. People can share the resource throughout networks and use #lovehendo whenever you post on social media about supporting small businesses. Follow your favorite small businesses' social media channels and like, comment, and share their posts with your own followers. With dining in no longer an option, please don't forget to order takeout from local restaurants.