Local News

Dining out will be different, here's how

Posted May 18, 2020 6:14 p.m. EDT
Updated May 18, 2020 7:26 p.m. EDT

— Masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.

Cleaning and more cleaning.

These will be the visuals in restaurants when they reopen for dine-in guests under Phase 2 of North Carolina's reopening.

5 On Your Side's Monica Laliberte looked at some of the latest ideas for reopening.

The main noticeable change is smaller capacity: fewer tables, fewer customers to meet social distancing guidelines.

"It's going to be smaller, but it's going to give us a chance to stay in business," said Parker Kennedy.

Like so many owners who've made adjustments, Kennedy is ready to reopen Caffé Luna in downtown Raleigh.

"They're going to be some challenges for sure … it's going to look and feel differently," said Lynn Minges, President & CEO of the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association.

"I think we'll see teams of folks who are assigned in restaurants, to just the cleaning protocol," said Minges.

Minges says customers should expect that extra cleaning to impact service.

"They'll understand that it takes a moment to get a refill on your, you know, glass of water, because the waitress can't always go from one table to the next. They have to go back and clean hands."

Kennedy says he'll likely have two reservation windows for seatings for added social distancing, and two teams of servers.

"This way, the people that are bringing the food out are always in a control group. So everything's sanitary coming out of the kitchen, and then we have a different crew to take the food away," he said.

Silverware may be plastic, and menus disposable and more limited.

In part because of supply chain issues, said Minges, "but also just because of the reordering of their kitchen to accomplish social distancing."

"We're dealing with a serious situation here," said Kennedy. "We wanna make sure everybody is doing what they're supposed to do."

Restaurants want to build trust and get back in business during Phase 2 of this pandemic.

Part of that trust building goes with the newly announced Count on Me NC COVID-19 training initiative.

It launches this week.

Restaurants whose employees participate will get a certificate to post, so that customers know they're taking extra steps for safety.

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