SALEM, Va. (WFXR) – Most of Virginia will enter Phase II of reopening on Friday. For restaurants, that means the ability to provide indoor dining at 50% capacity.
Danielle Shumate, co-owner of Our Daily Bread in Salem, says the change is something that she’s been hoping for since she had to close her business in March.
“We miss our customers and our regulars and we’re so looking forward to having them in for a cup of coffee and to just talk to them,” says Shumate.
Governor Ralph Northam announced the new phase on Tuesday during his biweekly press conference about the coronavirus outbreak.
“I am taking this step because science increasingly shows us that the virus spreads less easily when everyone is wearing face coverings,” Northam said.
Shumate says while she’s excited to see some new faces, she’s also worried that she won’t be able to accommodate a sudden increase of customers.
“That’s our final goal, to be able to accommodate all of our guests, but the main thing is to follow these rules and regulations given by the Virginia Department of Health and Governor Northam,” says Shumate.
Like many local businesses, the Salem bakery noticed a significant decrease in business once the mandatory stay-at-home order was put into effect throughout the Commonwealth.
However, with take-out and curbside pick-up options, they still had guests calling to place their orders.
“We’re meeting so many new people and seeing so many new faces. We’ve definitely made a lot of new relationships,” says Shumate.
The local restaurant has also increased sanitation efforts to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Shumate says cleaning has always been a priority of hers since she worked at theme parks like Universal and Disney World.
“We’ve always followed very strict guidelines with cleaning because there is always so many people, especially with COVID-19,” says Shumate, “They recommend cleaning every hour, we do more than every hour. When a guest touches the door handle, it gets wiped down with Lysol, and all of our silverware and plates are disposable.”
Along with baked goods, the Salem bakery also offers essential items like gloves, face masks, bleach, and toilet paper. Shumate says she came up with the idea after she noticed limited supplies at local grocery stores.
Under Phase II, restaurant guidelines include:
- No one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days is permitted in the establishment.
- Occupancy is limited to 23 persons.
- Facemasks are required while inside, except when eating.
- Maintain a minimum of six feet of physical distancing between all individuals as much as possible.
- Beverage containers or implements brought in by customers is not allowed.
Shumate she hopes people will enjoy the option of indoor dining and will be courteous of others over the next couple of weeks. As for increased cleaning? She says it’s here to stay.
“We will do anything we can to continue operating, and will stay like that for not as long as the governor feels, but as long as we feel comfortable as business owners too,” says Shumate.
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