SIERRA VISTA — A small sense of normalcy is returning with some restaurants opening their doors to dine-in customers after two months of state-mandated closures.
Monday marked the first day restaurants could reopen their dining rooms to patrons with social distancing restrictions in place, after Governor Doug Ducey issued new guidelines for businesses earlier this month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends restaurants place their seating six-feet apart and limiting parties to a maximum of 10 people.
Some local eateries have decided to resume with the new precautions in place, while others have chosen to take time to devise a plan everyone in their establishment is comfortable with before fully restoring their businesses.
Pizzeria Mimosa, in Hereford, reopened on Monday after moving tables around to adhere to the new guidelines. Stewart Gray, manager for Pizzeria Mimosa, said the rearranging cut the indoor seating in half, but they have plenty of outdoor seating available to accomodate guests.
“It’s nice (to be back),” Gray said. “It’s been a rough couple of months.”
On their first day back, Gray said they had more people for a Monday, which is a good indication of the response from the community. He said they are still offering their to-go services, which is what they have done for the last two months.
Employees of the Italian restaurant are wearing masks at all times to protect themselves and the guests as well as wearing gloves when handling and serving food, he said.
“We’re excited to be back,” Gray said. “We have all new specials (we’re excited to share with customers).”
Michelle Bobke, owner of Bobke’s for Lunch in Sierra Vista, took an extra day and opened her dining room on Tuesday. She said she and her staff are seating customers at every other table to provide enough space between them, and also have a sanitizing station at the entrance with gloves and sanitizer.
“If it were solely up to me (take out only) is what I would do for the next month,” Bobke said. “(We decided to open) because we have some older customers who are regulars that have no place to go. It’s a big part of their day coming here.”
Bobke said on Tuesday morning that her regulars had already been in, and while the numbers of dine-in customers was low, the number of take-out orders was still plentiful. Bobke’s For Lunch will continue to do take-out orders for those who don’t want to dine in, and is taking reservations to help limit the number of diners they have.
Kevin Adams, owner of the Culver’s franchise in Sierra Vista, is taking a more cautious approach to opening their dining room. Adams said they want to make sure all of their team members feel comfortable with the procedures and guidelines that are put in place before making any decisions.
“We’re playing this on a day-to-day (basis),” he said. “The health and safety of our team members is the highest priority.”
Adams did say the lobby is now open for customers to pick up orders and to place orders to go. He said there will be employees monitoring how many people are in the lobby, to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and getting beverages as there is no longer a self-service machine. People can sit in the patio seating if they’d like but not indoors.
For the most up to date information for local restaurants contact them directly or visit their websites or social media pages.