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Health experts push safety measures as state enters Phase III of reopening

Posted at 7:45 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 20:45:49-04

Starting Friday, restaurants are allowed to operate at 75% capacity thanks to Phase III of Texas' reopening plan. But how will that affect you and your ability to stay safe from coronavirus?

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health Department is stressing it's still very important to do your part to stay safe from coronavirus.

"I am seeing less face masks, which makes me a little nervous, but all we can do is protect ourselves," said restaurant customer Linda McDonald.

McDonald said she's paying extra attention to make sure where she chooses to dine is following CDC guidelines, like Tru Jamaica Restaurant in East Waco.

"When you come in, first of all you're seated every other table, and they're wearing their mask, and you can see the workers in the kitchen because it's like open kitchen," said McDonald.

"Even in this crazy time of COVID-19, I try not to dwell in the fear and just try and think what we have to do and just take it one day at a time," said Vivia Charles, co-owner and chef at Tru Jamaica.

The restaurant first opened just before the pandemic hit.

Tru Jamaica's owners say their business was able to make it to Phase III thanks to the community and by adjusting to CDC guidelines.

They say people appreciate the safety efforts and, in return, continue to come through and eat at Tru Jamaica.

"We've worked so hard for a place in this community. We want to be protective of the community that gives us their trust, and that's why it's so important to us," said Charles.

Since the beginning of the month, Central Texas has seen an uptick in cases in McLennan, Bell and Brazos Counties. With those increases, health officials continue to stress caution.

"We are reopening Texas, and that's very exciting but it's important to remember that the virus hasn't gone anywhere," said Kelly Crane with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.

Crane says when you go out to eat, you should take note of what the restaurant and staff is doing to keep you safe. Customers should also monitor their own health to keep others safe.

"If you're not feeling right, there's nothing wrong with contacting your doctor about what your symptoms are, because there's a possibility it could be COVID, and you could be tested," said Crane.

If you don't feel like a restaurant is following the proper guidelines at 75% capacity, you don't have to dine there. Many places are still offering take-out or curbside services.