Local restaurant reacts to lifted bar restrictions ahead of this weekend


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) – With almost 30% of adult Virginians fully vaccinated, Gov. Ralph Northam is rolling back more restrictions for the first time in more than a year.

For the first time in more than a year, customers are allowed to sit at the bar at a restaurant or bar.

It’s not completely back to normal, because customers still need to be spaced out 6 feet, but a local restaurant owner and their customers said they’re excited.

Nick Lindsey said he went straight to the bar when he heard the restrictions were lifted.

“Feels like it’s just, it’s just been too long. It’s too long. And I’m glad we’re finally seeing some kind of normalcy,” he said.

He’s been going to 21st Street Seafood Raw Bar for nearly four years, and never gave up hope he’d be able to sit back in his favorite place.

Owner Tony Schmidt says the change will make a big difference for alcohol sales.

“It … cut it by 75%. That’s crazy. You know, so yeah, we lost 75% of our bar business. Absolutely,” he explained.

But making the change is not seamless, especially right before the weekend when they are not fully staffed.

“This time of year, we’ll usually have you know, eight, eight waitresses and two bartenders and a busboy and a food runner and a dishwasher and five kitchen staff. You know, now it’s like, with three waitresses, and no busboy. I’m the busboy, and no dishwasher, and one bartender and three guys in the kitchen. So, and we’re trying to do the same business we were doing two years ago. And it’s tough,” explained Schmidt.

Nevertheless, they are excited things are getting closer to normal.

“I’m just glad that [the governor is] easing up on the restrictions, they’re not all the way gone. Of course, you got to wear your mask, six foot apart, you know, and all [that] stuff. And we try to adhere to it the best we can. You know, we’re just looking forward to a good summer,” he said.

For more information on the restrictions click here.

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