Local restaurants prepare accommodations to reopen indoor seating

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – According to Gov. Jim Justice’s plan to reopen the state, on Thursday, May 21, restaurants can begin opening inside dining to 50% capacity, under specific guidelines.

Bernard Bossio, who is one of the owners of the Wine Bar at Vintner Valley, discussed how he has been adjusting the business plan since the beginning of the stay-at-home order.

He mentioned that they had a little bit of a harder transition because unlike most restaurants, the Wine Bar wasn’t geared towards pick-up orders. “The Wine Bar was designed to be a gathering place where people could come and gather, talk and spend several hours there,” said Bossio.

After getting over the first obstacle, owners were finally able to open for outdoor dining. Bossio explained that expanded the outdoor seating was made to help accommodate social distancing.

“We added some Astroturf and made it like a real garden area with a bunch of flowerpots around it,” explained Bossio. “We wanted to make it a comfortable area and not make them feel like they were just sitting in a parking lot.”

Customers can either ask for a paper menu or they can use their phone camera to scan the QR code on the table to get access to the full menu. Despite the fact that it has reduced the number of tables for dining, the main priority is the safety of customers and staff.

“We’ve eliminated 50 percent of our seating to prepare to open the inside dining and we’re doing reservations only like we have been for outdoor dining,” said Bossio. “We are ready to go and we look forward to opening our doors on Thursday at 4.”

Texas Roadhouse is also one of the few restaurants that’s able to utilize its parking lot to create outdoor dining to accommodate guests.

Caleb Schoppe, who is the Service Manager at the Texas Roadhouse in Morgantown, spoke to 12 News about how staff has prepared to open indoor dining at 50% capacity.

“As soon as we heard the governor say that we could do outside dining, we jumped on the opportunity to give our community an option to sit outside, it had even been requested by a couple guests,” Schoppe explained.

In order to do outside dining, the restaurant had to apply for a temporary outdoor liquor license that allows them to serve alcoholic beverages outside. Caleb explained that staff has been talking a lot about sanitation and how important it is through all of this, especially making sure everyone’s trained to keep their guests and workers as safe as possible.

Schoppe said, “I think having outdoor indoor and Togo’s at the same time will be difficult to manage, but we are definitely prepared to staff accordingly including having extra managers on a shift.”

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