Curbside and other options keep first responders fed on the road despite dining room closures

Published 8:37 am Friday, March 20, 2020

Despite the closures of many dining areas in restaurants amid growing coronavirus concerns, first responders will still be able to get food while working.

Worries for first responders come when dining rooms close and they are not able to fit through drive thru areas in personnel vehicles.

According to April Nave, an EMT worker in Carter County, being able to get fast food is sometimes all she and her coworkers can get to eat when on the road all day.

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“Sometimes if we bring our own food, a lot of the time we are too busy to go to the station to eat,” she said. “We don’t have time to go into dining rooms and eat, but we go in and order. We’ve ordered food before and had to leave even after paying if we get a call.”

While Nave said she has not yet been to any of the businesses with closed dining rooms, as it is still new, she says she would love to use curbside services.

Businesses like Chick-fil-A, Bojangles, McDonald’s and Big Dan’s say that first responders can take advantage of their curbside services to remain fed on the job.

Chick-fil-A is one of the many restaurants that now has a closed dining room. Customers can now get food through the drive-thru and curbside.

Noah Hatfield, manager of the Chick-fil-A in Elizabethton, said that curbside services can be done using the application. People with large orders can also call drive-thru ahead for services. Likewise, first responders are welcome to park in the parking lot during curbside.

“I think it’s important that everyone gets a meal and gets their food, especially them, so we will do whatever we can,” he said.

Big Dan’s in downtown also offers curbside and hopes first responders will come to eat.

“They need to eat, and they are out here helping people,” said Dan Britt, owner of the business. “I’m just thankful for everyone out here still able to work. We are going above and beyond to stay sanitized and clean. We are so thankful people are still coming and getting orders from us.”

Places like McDonald’s are also offering the curbside service.

Adapting to closed dining, Bojangles, which does not have curbside service, is still helping first responders by allowing them to walk up to their drive-thru and order food.

For information on whether or not curbside services or other options are available at an eating establishment, you can call ahead or check the business’s website.

“They’re taking care of us, they’re taking care of all of us,” said Kendra Walker, a shift manager at Bojangles. “They have to work even if we don’t have to work.”