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The COVID-19 pandemic at this point has affected everyone's life in some way or another. Some have lost jobs. Others have lost their businesses. The ripples are widespread and have touched everyone and everything. Even national brands that we thought were institutions have begun to shut their doors.

One business model that seems to be facing an uphill battle is the buffet industry. With concerns over social distancing and surface contact, the self-serve food industry is seemingly in peril. Earlier this year, on March 25th, national buffet giant Golden Corral announced that they were temporarily ceasing restaurant operations at all 35 company-operated stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The buffet chain also announced that they furloughed 2,290 employees.

At that time, the future did not exactly look promising for the company. However, we have talked with a representative from Golden Corral and they have a plan in place to reopen many of their stores over the next several months. In fact, several locations in the region have already reopened for service, including stores in Marshall, Longview and Texarkana.

Golden Corral Corporation told us: "We have developed new service models to comply with variations in local and state guidelines that provide our guests an enjoyable Golden Corral experience. These new ways to serve our guests include cafeteria-style, which features endless helpings and eliminates the need for guests to touch serving utensils, and family-style table service where guest favorites are delivered to their table."

The company also says that they will have new procedures in place for staff members to ensure the health and safety of all who work and frequent their eateries. As for our local Golden Corral location in Shreveport, the company says that the store will reopen. However, a date has not yet been determined.

You can read the full statement we received from Golden Corral below:

The Golden Corral at 7250 Youree Drive in Shreveport, Louisiana will be reopening this summer.  The restaurants in Marshall, Longview, and Texarkana, Texas have already reopened.  By the end of the week, nearly 200 Golden Corral restaurants will be open across the country with more to follow in June, July, and August.  We have developed new service models to comply with variations in local and state guidelines that provide our guests an enjoyable Golden Corral experience.  These new ways to serve our guests include cafeteria-style, which features endless helpings and eliminates the need for guests to touch serving utensils, and family-style table service where guest favorites are delivered to their table.  The service model for the Shreveport restaurant will be determined once the reopening date is set.  We will continue to reinforce our rigorous cleanliness standards for guest touchpoints, perform employee temperature checks, and incorporate additional hand sanitizing stations.  Gloves and masks will be worn by all coworkers.  New social distancing procedures, including floor markers, table spacing, and drink delivery, will also be in place as our company and franchise-operated restaurants reopen across the country.  We appreciate the support of our loyal guests and look forward to bringing our team back to work to serve everyone again soon.