As more weeks pass, there have been major improvements in terms of restrictions with Covid-19. Recently, many states have now entered phase one, or in some states, the yellow zone. Phase one in many towns includes the reopening of hair salons, essential businesses, manufacturing, construction, real estate, utilities, hospitals, offices, museums, outdoor zoos, parks and what seems to be one of the main ones, restaurants for outdoor seating only.
Many restaurants have dedicated their outdoor dining area to be the hot spot, as soon as phase one went underway. With limited seating outdoors, larger groups—more than two—typically have to reserve a table in advance.
Although outdoor seating is now available in many places, there still has to be adjustments in terms of how the restaurant is run and how to appropriately equip the staff, as well as the customers.
Some have reduced their menus down to their popular dishes, and transferred those listings on disposable paper, while others have created a QR code which allows the customer to use their own personal device to view the menu— limiting the transfer of germs.
Aside from menus, many restaurants are also giving customers the option to use the normal metal silverware, or disposable plastic silverware, usually given with a takeout order. Many places have also served the food in take-out containers, or to-go boxes, as a way of reducing the number of people using the same plate. Giving this option creates an environment that is safer and flexible to the customer.
Outdoor dining has been amazing for business owners, as they can finally bring back some of their employees who have been out of work for a few months, as well as give people and families a place to enjoy their meals, outside of their homes. Since it is only outdoor seating, we are all relying on Mother Nature for good weather. On days where it is a little colder, windy or rainy, many restaurants do not get the anticipated business. Therefore, the weather is the best indicator of business performance for now.
While many places have outdoor seating on a normal basis, others have never offered outdoor dining, making this phase slightly difficult. A diner located in Newtown, CT. is widely popular and well-known to be packed no matter the time of day. There are two large sections that can seat about 75 people each… but zero outdoor seating. Many restaurants in this same situation have taken matters into their own hands by taking advantage of extra space outside or in their parking lots and building their own temporary outdoor seating.
Renting tents, umbrellas, tables and chairs, and creating a makeshift outdoor seating area, has allowed these places to get business they had been wanting and needing, while still following social distancing regulations.
We are all anticipating for the start of phase two, but in the meantime, may we take advantage of all that phase one provides. Restaurants and customers, be sure to continue following social distancing regulations and using the proper sanitation methods!