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For The First Time, Coffee Shop Delivers Curbside To Avoid Virus Spread

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Ben Meyer/WXPR
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A sign on the door now greets visitors to the Briar House coffee shop in Rhinelander.

Like other restaurants and bars in Wisconsin, as a coronavirus precaution, people can’t come in.

But, for the first time, Briar House started offering call-in and curbside pickup orders.

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Credit Ben Meyer/WXPR
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Visitors to the Briar House see this sign on the door.

Last Tuesday, owner Sandy Buss shut the doors on Briar House to all but employees.

That came before the order from Gov. Tony Evers, which directed all restaurants and bars to halt in-person service.

Speaking on the Briar House porch, Buss said it feels odd.  Coffee shops, by nature, are places for people to gather.

“We’re just sad that they weren’t going to have that interaction that they do.  A lot of the people in the morning are here at the same time, so they see the same people every day, and us.  So it was a big change,” she said.

Now, customers call with their order and credit card number, and wait for a staff member to come out to their car with their drink.

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Credit Ben Meyer/WXPR
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An employee brings drink orders to cars at the Briar House. No customers go inside.

Buss says businesses has remained pretty good, thanks to her loyal customers.

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Credit Ben Meyer/WXPR
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She hopes that doesn’t change, no matter how long the outbreak lasts.

“We know that there’s the possibility it could go on for a long time.  We know that it’s a possibility that we could be totally shut down at some point,” Buss said.  “We’re just taking it a day at a time and doing what we can to keep rolling."

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He now contributes occasionally to WXPR. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.