LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — At 11:30 on a Tuesday morning, customers trickled into Iron and Ale, waiting to be seated on what once was a miniature soccer field.
“Probably in about five to 10 minutes,” said server Dalton Watts, “You’re going to start seeing some people rolling in here.”
Watts is of about 60 employees who were furloughed. Friday was his first day back at work.
“It was definitely whipping me back into shape, going two months without really doing much. Just staying home and then coming back and then being absolutely busy, but I’ll take it. It’s been great to be back. The customers have been overwhelmingly supportive,” Dalton said. “Very busy. I would say overwhelmingly busy. I was very surprised. I would like to say I would not be surprised, but I was surprised at how many people did come out.”
Those people include Tammy Jamerson and Barbara Bowles, who had lunch together on Tuesday.
“She called,” said Bowles, gesturing towards Jamerson, “I was doing laundry, so thank goodness she called.”
They ate on what is normally a bocce court, which an employee with Iron and Ale said the restaurant converted into seating area at a cost of about $10,000.
“Wonderful. Wonderful,” said Jamerson, about the chance to eat out again for the first time in months.
“I cook every single meal, and it’s just, I can, it just means so much to me. It just brightens my day. Just to be out, it’s just wonderful.”
The first phase of reopening means a lot to them.
“I go out once a week to buy groceries,” said Bowles. “That’s it. And now, we have more freedom. I’m just really blessed.”