GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — A well-known, family-owned restaurant in central Indiana is closing its doors for good amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In just a couple of days, Roscoe’s Tacos would have been celebrating 25 years in business, but because of the coronavirus, they have made the decision to permanently shut down all three of their locations: in Indianapolis, Greenwood and Franklin. News 8 spoke with the owners, who say coming to this decision wasn’t easy.
“It took me two hours to write it, plenty of tears, but it just had to be done,” said owner Rita Townsend.
Roscoe and Rita Townsend made the announcement Sunday on Facebook.
“This is something that is not about money,” said Roscoe Townsend, owner.
“This is about lives,” said Rita.
“This is about people dying,” said Roscoe.
The couple said that the decision came after Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that people needed to stay home due to the coronavirus.
“Everybody go home, except go get takeout at your local restaurant. I really felt trapped by that because if everyone should be at home, then why should our employees be here?” said Roscoe.
Roscoe’s Tacos is a low-margin business. The couple says over the years they have taken quite a few hits that almost took their business, but the community has always stepped up to save them.
“We have been through several crises, you know. In 2001, 9/11, then the war started in (2003), then we had a financial crisis in (2007), there has always been a threat of taking down this restaurant,” said Roscoe.
The pandemic was the last straw. They didn’t want to risk the health of their 50 employees and with the future uncertain, they say it was time.
“Their lives are more important than a dollar coming in the door,” said Rita.
Now the couple is having to close the business that sent their children to college and that turned longtime customers into family members.
“This is going to be the most weirdest feeling I have had in 25 years because this is not going to be normal,” said Roscoe.
The Townsends say that despite the governor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowing carry-out and drive-thru services at restaurants, they would like to see other restaurants temporarily close to let employees stay home.
Roscoe posted a letter on Facebook explaining his concerns.