Restaurants Reopen, Seek to Find Balance

Eateries are eager to return to business, but questions remain about the safest way to do so.

May 04, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—States are beginning to lift stay-at-home orders, but American restaurants and consumers alike are still a bit unsure if they’re ready. Restaurants in particular are responding and weighing the safety risks for staff and customers, reports Bloomberg.

Starbucks is set to reopen 90% of its U.S. locations with an emphasis on mobile order-and-pay and modified schedules. IHOP is getting rid of syrup containers on tables. Applebee’s removed shared condiments. Some restaurants are offering plastic plates and utensils if the customer doesn’t want porcelain dining ware.

For many restaurant owners, they just can’t wait to open any longer. So they’re figuring how to open back up in the safest way possible, recognizing that while servers in masks are not the most inviting look, there are some non-negotiables.

Some states are requiring restaurants to reduce the number of seated customers by half or more to ensure diners are six feet apart from one another. “One restaurant in Iowa plans to start dine-in service by seating only truckers, because they tend to eat alone,” stated Bloomberg.

“I don’t want to open prematurely and, two weeks later, they’ll say, ‘Oh no, we have to close again,’” said Crystal Peterson, who owns Yo’ Mama’s in Birmingham, Alabama, with her mother.

Right now, businesses and restaurants are fighting to stay afloat and doing whatever they can to make it work, while ensuring that social-distancing guidelines are still in place.