Keep The Pizza Coming

COVID-19’s Effects on the Community Doesn’t Stop Cornerstone From Continuing Business


Mike Horton

Now that this virus started taking place, Cornerstone has been much more empty, like most places in Lebanon. Before, Cornerstone used to have some nights where they’d be packed so full of people, some would wait for a seat by the entrance. It’s so strange to see this difference.

Cornerstone has always been a pretty popular place in Lebanon. It’s specifically ‘famous’ because of the strombolis, hot ham and cheese subs, and pizza deals that are made there. Considering how it’s a family business, there’s only one Cornerstone. Before the corona virus pandemic, it would occasionally get so busy people would be standing at the door, waiting for a seat. Now, things aren’t near as busy. Many places in Lebanon began to shut down because of the virus, including the schools. However, the Health Department considered Cornerstone essential and business continued.

“I would consider Cornerstone an essential place because even during this pandemic with less employees working, we’ve still been able to have just as much business per week,” said Mike Horton, manager of Cornerstone.

After the schools initially closed, warnings toward restaurants were beginning to be made. It wasn’t enforced just yet, so the dine-in option was still available. When this happened, Cornerstone started taking their own safety precautions. They started cleaning every inch of the tables and booths with bleach-water after every individual customer left. They also took down their salad, continuing to make salads back in the kitchen. Once the dine-in option was no longer possible, things got a bit more serious.

“The hardest thing right now when working is when we have slow days. We finish our work quicker and don’t have things left to do to pass the time,” said senior TJ Schuneman.

Everyone at Cornerstone was affected differently by this situation. Not much changed for the cooks. But for the dish-washers and waitresses, things were changed drastically. The dish-washers weren’t really needed at this time, so they were sent home. They wouldn’t be coming back until this pandemic ended, so the cooks and waitresses had to take on their job for the time being.

Normally, waitresses were there to serve food, keep the salad bar filled, get refills, check on customers, keep everything stocked up front, take orders, answer the phone, run register, clean, and sometimes dry dishes. Now, minus the first three of those things, they have to also wash dishes, give customers their food to-go, clean out the sinks at the end of each night, and fill cheese cups all while staying safe. For them, this means less to do some days, less money earned through tips, and many slow nights.

“I probably miss the ability to talk to an individual face-to-face while working here\; before this virus started,” said waitress Karen Williams.

Besides keeping customers happy and satisfied, Cornerstone is great at another thing, and that’s keeping everyone safe. Many additional precautions have been taken in order to keep everyone’s safety as top priority. For customers, the delivery (only for those in city limits and with an additional charge of $4) and curb-side options are available.

However, many customers are comfortable with coming inside to pick up their food, and this can be a risk for the waitresses. In order to keep both those customers and the waitresses safe, germ-x is available, a table is set down so the customers and waitresses don’t ever have direct contact, a sort-of plastic ‘barrier’ is tied up so it stands between any coughs or sneezes, and brownies are set out for customers so they only touch the ones they want. Many customers are seen coming inside with masks, gloves, or even both. Both of these items are available at Cornerstone to both its waitresses and cooks.

In conclusion, this time is hard for everyone, but Cornerstone won’t let this pandemic stop them. They will continue making customers happy for as long as they possibly can. Safety taken into lots of consideration, Cornerstone shows no sign of giving up any time soon.