Outdoor dining, social distancing and temperature checks: Hampton Roads restaurants prepare for partial reopening


HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Restaurants are dusting off their outdoor seating area, cleaning their shops and some are even preparing for temperature checks. They are welcoming customers back Friday night, with restrictions.

Under phase 1 reopening procedures in Virginia, no customers are allowed inside any restaurant. If businesses have a permit for outdoor seating, they can fill that area at 50-percent capacity.  Customers will need to be spaced out. 

10 On Your Side spoke with Rodrigo Ramirez, an employee at Guads Mexican Restaurant in Portsmouth. Ramirez said at their shop, customers need to be in and out in an hour. He said all staff will be wearing masks and they’ll only allow 24 customers outside at a time. 

Ramirez said he believes Gov. Ralph Northam made the right decision. 

“It’s great,” he said. “It’s great that he’s thinking of us now. We were waiting for that. I think 50-percent capacity outdoors is perfect.” 

Some restaurants, like Four Eleven York in Norfolk are even going beyond what the governor is requiring. Their website says they’re conducting temperature checks and if anyone’s exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit, they and everyone in their party will be asked to leave.

Their website states, “We will have a hostess seating people in the patio area and will be greeting customers at the gate between the two buildings, we will take every patron’s temperature with a no contact thermometer. Patron’s with a temperature above 100 F will be asked to leave as well as the other members of their party. Anyone having COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure in the last 14 days is not allowed on the property.

Not all restaurants are comfortable with allowing customers to sit outside their shops just yet.

10 On Your Side also spoke with Brian Williams, the owner of Terrapin Restaurant in Virginia Beach. Terrapin has an outdoor seating section, but Williams says they are opting to stick to takeout and delivery only.

“We think it’s a little too early to be doing this for us to be feeling safe and keeping our employees safe and guests safe,” he said. “We’re going to take our time and we’re developing policies and procedures right now.”

Williams said they’re still trying to figure out how to properly sanitize bathrooms in between each guest. They’re also coming up with a plan to manage both outside dining and their takeout service.

He said they are aiming to have those plans in place by the beginning of June. 

Smartmouth Brewing in Norfolk will reopen their outdoor seating with restrictions Friday, but they want to hear from you ahead of the partial reopening. They put out a survey to learn about what safety measures you’d like to see during your visit.

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