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Locals support small businesses, come together for virtual dinner date

SOUTH BEND, Ind. ---- Locals finding a sense of normalcy by joining up for dinner via video chat Thursday night.

It’s all in an effort to support local restaurants, forced to rethink their practices due to the coronavirus outbreak.

To boost sales at local businesses, community members got either takeout or delivery from a locally-owned shop. Then they hopped on the computer to enjoy dinner and a little conversation virtually.

The newly-launched Takeout COVID19 website sparked the idea for the virtual gathering on Google Hangouts Thursday night.

“We will have people introduce themselves, where they’re from, what they got to eat, and then hopefully have some conversation around what people are spending their time doing,” Jacob Titus said, who coordinated the hangout. “My wife and I got some beer from Crooked Ewe, she got pizza from Barnaby’s, and I got some from Center Stage.”

Jacob Titus helped create the running database to encourage others to support local businesses feeling the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak due to restrictions on dine-in customers.

“We wanted it to be top of mind for people that these restaurants are still open and that you could still get food,” Titus said.

There are plans to host more virtual community dinners in the future and Titus says the website will stay up as long as there are restrictions on local restaurants.

 “This is their livelihood and this is how they support their families. I think any kind of solidarity and encouragement we can give them is well worth our time.”

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