Restaurant staff reopen in-person dining under increased guidelines and fewer customers – WYMT News

Restaurant News

Ky. (WYMT) – Friday many restaurant owners saw something they had not seen in more than two months: in-person dining.

Opened to 33 percent capacity and unlimited patio seating, restaurants employees and owners have a handful of guidelines to follow as they reopen.

For many, this is unchartered water as they open to that limited crowd with increased regulations. Amid all of it, innovation is key for many restaurants.

At Fork N Table in Hazard, they opened up in February, about one month later, COVID-19 regulations closed their doors to in-person service. They have been surviving on takeout and curbside since then.

“Everything’s different, we actually expanded due to the pandemic and we now have outdoor seating,” said Samantha Turner, an employee at Fork N Table.

During that time they were closed to in-person dining, they built a beach-themed patio with seating to accommodate the 33 percent capacity change.

“We kinda tried to give a vibe to brighten everyone up you know in this dark time,” Turner added.

In Knott County, things look different too. At the local BBQ joint, Pig in a Poke, seating is more spread out.

“Right so yeah, we’ve spent a lot of time the past few days moving tables around to make sure everything is six feet apart so everybody’s not up on each other,” Manager Blake Baldridge said.

Chairs block off which booths cannot be used and hand sanitizer is abundant. Baldrige also says the community has supported them through everything — in more ways than just buying food.

“We had one lady who’s a retired teacher who actually made all of our staff some facemasks to help us as we get back to reopen,” Baldridge said.

From plastic, one-time utensils to no glass cups, there are many different precautions taken. In Laurel County ant Gondolier Italian Restaurant & Pizza, all employees have their temperatures checked.

“We’re gonna do the best we can, I’m not sure like I said, what to expect the rest of the weekend but we are looking forward to it,” Julianne Jones Tate said. “So I just hope that people when they do go out to eat that they have a little bit of patience and they are kind. these people haven’t been working for you know a long time.”

She is like many restaurant owners, unsure of what will come next, but happy to see her customers.

“To be able to see the excitement on their face and not just read the review, it’s completely different having people that you can look at,” said Krystle Horn, Fork N Table’s Owner.

Fork N Table and Gondolier Italian Restaurant & Pizza opened Friday. Pig in a Poke will open Saturday.

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