Governor Kemp Lifts Restrictions for Georgia Restaurants
STARTING JUNE 16 AT MIDNIGHT, RESTAURANTS CAN OPEN AT FULL CAPACITY WITH PARTIES SIX FEET APART
Last Thursday, June 11, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced when some COVID-19 restrictions will be relaxed. Starting June 16 at midnight, restaurants can open at full capacity. Parties will still be seated six feet apart, but those groups can now total no more than 50 people.
“The biggest thing is probably being able to have more people at their tables,” said Old Chicago Manager David Stinson. “We’ve had a lot of parties we haven’t been able to do due to the number of restrictions people can have in a group.”
New guidelines allow condiments back on tables, but they must be cleaned after every use. Restaurants will also be allowed to use silverware to serve food. As a safety precaution, all employees on the work floor are required to wear masks.
“Anybody interacting with a patron has to have on a mask,” said Old Chicago General Manager Stephen McClure. “If you’re out here in the dining room or your a manager, you have to wear a mask when interacting with people.”
As for Ezell’s, they never closed during the pandemic. However, they did take a major economic hit and have slowly picked up steam.
“We started off anywhere down from about 80 percent and we’ve worked that down to about 20 percent,” said Ezell’s President Clark Ezell. “It gets better about every week.
Ezell customers, such as Columbus resident Holly McClendon, stayed loyal during the process.
“I’ve got my family with me, and this is something that we do every Tuesday for the last 15 years,” said McClendon. “Just something that we love to do. Love the whole menu. I just love everything about it!”
While COVID-19 has been a burden, it also opened up the restaurant industry to a new way of serving customers.
“It kind of pushed us into adopting to that curbside deal, and we’ve enjoyed it,” said Ezell. “I think the customer’s have enjoyed it as well, so we’ll definitely keep doing that.”