Coronavirus

Downtown Roanoke restaurants make changes as Phase Two of reopening starts

Coronavirus

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Many restrictions were lifted for restaurants and other businesses Friday as the Commonwealth entered Phase Two, and some people braved the rain to take advantage of this new phase of reopening.

Restaurants are now able to serve people inside at 50 percent capacity, whereas before they were only limited to outside seating. Restaurants are also increasing their cleaning and spacing tables out more to allow for proper social distancing.

It’s something that customers appreciate. Many say they feel like this is a step toward things feeling closer to normal.

“Being quarantined, it kind of sucked being stuck inside the house,” said Clarissa Lewis, who came out to eat inside Awful Arthurs for the first time since things shut down.

“I feel safe enough to eat there. There’s no problem where I feel like I could contract COVID or anything. Just a normal out to eat restaurant experience.”

“Being quarantined, it’s kind of sucked being stuck inside the house.”

Clarissa Lewis came out today to eat inside Awful Arthurs for the first time since things shut down.

“I feel safe enough to eat there. There’s no problem where I feel like I could contract COVID or anything. Just a normal out to eat restaurant experience.”

However, it’s not just restaurants. Indoor gyms are back open at 30 percent capacity, and certain recreation and entertainment centers — including museums, zoos, aquariums, and outdoor concert and sporting venues — are able to open up to guests once again.

Another big step is that the maximum number of people who can gather is increasing from 10 to 50.

“We’re very excited. We were kind of shocked when the announcement came out because it was like three days before it was actually happening,” said Rachel Kidd, manager of Crescent City Bourbon and BBQ.

Kidd says it was short notice, but they got things ready in time for Phase Two.

“At the time indoors we didn’t have any of our tables spaced apart far enough, and we had to do a lot of intensive cleaning and stuff just to make sure everything is tip top enough for dining indoors,” Kidd said.

Caribbica Soul owner Arton Williams says they also made some changes.

“What we basically do is do a lot of sanitizing tables and chairs. We also do the disposable menu. So once they come and they get the menu this goes with them,” said Williams.

They even went so far as to build a barricade in front of the register.

“We’re hoping that the transition into Phase Two will go smooth where people feel safe and comfortable to come out and eat out compared to the way it was before.”

Indoor seating gives restaurants an alternative for rainy weather.

“If it started raining in the middle of someone’s meal, it was something where we would just have to pack up their stuff into to-go boxes. So it’s really nice to know now that no matter what happens weather-wise we will have seating for people and we will be able to provide them the service we want,” said Kidd.

No word yet on when Phase Three will start, but for a more in-depth look at what changes come with Phase Two, click here.

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