In The Know: What Does Re-opening look like for local restaurants?
Although they did not have a choice about closing their dining rooms, restaurants have been given the green light to open- sort of. A quick scroll through websites and Facebook pages reveal local owners have different approaches: Each one must weigh the risks and rewards. The rules require time to implement; owners and managers need to retrain staff or hire new staff. It is not just about the regulations, though, their messages show they are most concerned for the safety of customers and staff.
Scanning The State of Iowa’s guidelines for the food and beverage industry it becomes clear re-opening entails many steps: 50% capacity and six feet for social distancing between tables/seating; no more than six at a table; single use condiments, disposable menus, sneeze guards to protect employees and masks for employees/servers in close quarters; no buffets, salad bars or self-serve drink stations, and much more. Go to this link to learn more about the rules. https://www.osceolachamber.com/resources
Kim Jackson, co-owner of Timber Ridge Country Market, said it is just not practical for them to open for dine-in at this time. They have a small dining space, but she said following the rules require a lot of personal protective gear, which adds up. “I miss the hum of having eat-in customers…but people have been so supportive-when they ask, ‘how are you doing?’ they mean it.” She went on to say the Facebook Group, Clarke County Takeout and Delivery,” really helped business, “Many local people discovered what we have to offer!”
Two restaurants with larger dining space have opted to open for dine-in service. Playa Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant closed for a short time at the beginning of the pandemic but reopened to offer curbside service. Now, they have opened part of their dining room. On the front page of their website is this statement: “Dining room is now open! To ensure the safety of our customers we are allowing only a 50-person capacity until further notice…”
Nana Greer’s Family Table Restaurant has been closed for several weeks, however; their recent Facebook message indicates they are nearly ready to open, “This week we are finishing up some odd jobs, additional cleaning, training and rearranging our dining room to comply with CDC recommendation. We will be ordering food and creating a new menu to simplify getting our great breakfast and sandwiches in front of you.” The post also indicates staff changes.
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Reminder: May is Small Business Month
Several businesses have shared their gratitude for local support with OCMS staff. There are so many ways to maintain that support throughout the year. Clarke County offers just about every type of business and service larger towns and cities offer, with very important differences: Local connections-you know these owners and they know you; they put their dollars and physical support into local events and activities. #StrongerTogether
· Buy gift certificates for good and services- you can’t go wrong!
· ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ businesses on Facebook and other social media.
· Give a five-star rating to your favorite places and services
· Help promote local-post photos of your finds
· Tip like a boss
· Add yourself to the Facebook group, Clarke Take Out and Delivery
Check the osceolachamber.com website to learn more about our local OCMS member businesses. How are you supporting small businesses? Send us your ideas! [email protected]