‘I’ll take whatever I can get at this point’: Restaurants prepare to reopen indoor dining

ROANOKE, Va. – Businesses are hard at work preparing to meet new guidelines to reopen under Phase Two of Virginia’s reopening plan.

“Our guests are super happy that we’re back open and in business and we’re beyond happy to be able to serve them again,” said Anissa Soprano, general manager of Tuco’s.

Restaurants across the commonwealth are preparing for a sight they haven’t seen in months: customers dining inside.

Under Phase One guidelines, they’ve been limited to outdoor seating at half capacity. For places like Tuco’s and Martin’s, that’s been quite a challenge.

“What is hard for us is to seat as many people that would like to be served,” Soprano said.

“It's like remodeling your house while it's on fire, so you're trying to figure it out as you go,” said Jason Martin, general manager of Martin's.

Martin’s was able to add temporary outdoor seating to get by, but the once-bustling restaurant has been empty inside for months now.

Restaurants all around downtown Roanoke have found temporary solutions to fall in line with the governor’s guidelines. Now, they’re working to adjust to Phase Two.

This next phase of reopening means six feet between tables or seating every other table, single-use menus, no bar seating or self service, employees wearing face masks and thorough cleaning every hour.

“I'll take whatever I can get at this point. I'm super happy to be able to move back inside,” Martin said.

It’s the next step in returning to some sense of normalcy by firing up the kitchen and serving up safety.

“We have so many people that are ready just to come home for some tacos and tequila,” Soprano said.

“We're trying to keep it safe and we think if everybody uses common sense, I think we should be okay,” Martin said.

Outdoor seating at Martin’s only runs through Sunday.

Starting Friday, Tuco’s will expand its outdoor seating, adding more tables in the parking lot.

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Jessica anchors 10 News on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 and 11 p.m. You can also catch her reporting during the week.

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