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Local restaurants take extra precaution as more cases of COVID-19 emerge

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 19:33:33-04

Not only are local restaurants having to battle limited capacity, they’re also fighting a virus that could threaten them by forcing future closures.

As the U.S. reopens, people have begun to gather together again for protests and even small events. This has caused some fear of a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus lurking on the horizon.

“Nobody wants to do that again. On so many levels, you worry that somebody else could be sick and you could be around them, but the economic hardship of it all as well as the emotional turmoil you have from it... I mean it’s a constant worry,” said Darlene Schoenrock of Ninfa's in Waco.

The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, and while there is still fear of another closure, many restaurants are taking their own extra precautions.

“As far as staff goes we do do our temperature checks. If somebody doesn’t feel good we tell them to stay home whether it be a stomach bug or it's not virus related,”said Dorothy Lentis, owner of Alpha Omega in Waco.

“We have somebody whose sole job, every fifteen minutes, is to sanitize everything that a customer would touch, so door handles, our actual sanitizing stations. We also added Plexiglass between all the booths because we could not distance those,” said Schoenrock.

The state is now Phase III of Governor Abbott's reopening plan. As of June 12, bars can operate at 50% capacity, and restaurants at 75%. Restaurants can also expand their maximum table size from 6 to 10 persons.

“It's definitely nice to be back open and see smiling faces. That’s one thing that everyone is happy about on the staff is to get people in the doors. It was kinda depressing before,” said Lentis.

Restaurants are still using disposable menus and implementing additional cleaning procedures in addition to limited capacity and social distancing.

Of course, customers can also taking their own steps to stay safe by bringing hand sanitizer, staying six feet apart, wearing facial coverings, or just ordering to-go.