Indiana restaurants reopen at 50% capacity

Coronavirus Watch Indiana

BROOKHAVEN, GA – APRIL 27: Barry Lennon, Operating Partner of J. Christopher, hangs up signs to to promote dine in service now available in the J. Christopher restaurant on April 27, 2020 in Brookhaven, Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp has allowed some non-essential businesses to start re-opening in Georgia amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. As of Monday, restaurants around Georgia are allowed to offer dine-in service. Non-essential businesses allowed to start reopening are restaurants, movie theaters, tattoo shops, salons, gyms and nail salons. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

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INDIANA (WEHT)- For the first time in almost two months, restaurant tables in Indiana have customers at them. Monday the state’s reopen plan took another step. This phase allows restaurants to have customers inside but at only 50% capacity.

Some restaurants employees never thought they’d say it, they’re glad to have dirty dishes piled on tables again. Since the middle of March, restaurant operations have looked very different with carryout windows busier than normal.

Starting Monday, empty seats are no more something waitresses appreciate.
“Being a waitress you live off your tips and with being shot down you weren’t making a lot so it’s going to make a difference I feel,” Deonna Hall

Restaurants like Rosie’s in Evansville and Nellie’s in Newburgh welcomed smiling faces. As did Honeymoon coffee shop in Evansville. But they’re all taking precautions.

“We’re doing the best we can. We’ve gotten ask since I didn’t gloves and all that, so we’re doing the best we can,” Hall explains.

“Right now we’re just going to sit outside at our patios,” Caroline Fardig says.

“We’re taking employees temperatures when they come into work and we’re keeping a daily log of everybody,” Renee Jimenez says.

Customers were eager to get back in the restaurants again. Even the littlest ones. But some still want to be cautious so limited contact options are still open.

“Whatever everyone is comfortable with. We want you to be comfortable when you come in and we want everyone to be safe and healthy,” Fardig says,

They’re ready to keep serving people from windows and in to-go boxes, but they hope to have more of their empty seats filled again.

“It’s not such a drive-through experience that we want to make. But we want to make sure people can get the food and drinks they love from Honeymoon,” Fardig explains.

As some Hoosiers are going out and sitting down many people are still using drive-thrus and carryout services.

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(This story was originally published on May 11, 2020)

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