DANVILLE – Customers who arrive today at Danville’s Custard Cup will find a new way to order their favorite frozen treat.

A drive-through has been created for the first time in the frozen custard stand’s 71-year history.

Owner operator Rodney Smart said the drive-through, which will consist of a 10X20 tent at the back door of the stand, will be temporary until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Smart closed the walkup windows at the end of business Friday night.

“It will be a temporary drive-through until this is all said and done,” he said. “The tent will be an extension of my building.

“They (customers) will just stay in their car and place their order, and my employees will go up front and make their order,” he explained. “I want people to be safe in their cars.”

When Custard Cup opened for the season two weeks ago, Smart set new rules for walkup orders and used hot pink duct tape to mark off 10 numbered spaces so customers could practice social distancing while standing in line.

“Ninety percent of the people practiced social distancing, but 10 percent didn’t,” he said.

After learning about the first coronavirus case in Vermilion County earlier this week, Smart said he was determined to make changes for the safety of his customers and employees.

“I came up with the idea of using a tent for the drive-through, and on Tuesday I talked to the health department about it and they were behind me 120 percent,” Smart said. “I then had to get the approval of the city, and by 4 p.m. Thursday I got everything approved.

“I’m doing this because I didn’t have a drive-through,” he said. “If I had a drive-through to begin with, I would have never opened the walkup windows.”

Smart said his drive-through should not affect the traffic flow on North Vermilion Street.

“I will close off the south entrance closest to Wendy’s, and my north entrance will be exit only,” he explained. “We won’t block traffic on North Vermilion because the cars will be coming off onto Ridgeview and going to the back parking lot.”

Custard Cup isn’t the only business to move to a drive-through only model. Dairy Barn in Hillery announced Friday that it, too, would close its walkup operations and serve only drive-through customers.

“My decision wasn’t based on what any other business has done or not done. It was based on what I could do to keep the community safe,” Smart said. “I already had this idea at the beginning of the week and had to wait for approval.

“I’m doing what I can to keep my customers and employees safe,” he said.

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