Norfolk restaurant owner discusses preparing for phase 3 of reopening amid pandemic


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On the deck right outside Nauticus in Norfolk sits The Big Wisky, a new restaurant that opened a few weeks ago — during the pandemic.

“We’re really curious to see what’s going to happen with it because we’ve already started to get some traction,” said owner Ron Sitjar.

Sitjar is not a first-time restaurant owner, he also runs 757 Crave Downtown and the BB-64 cafe inside Nauticus. Now that phase 3 of opening the state is just a few days away, we asked Sitjar how he is getting ready for it at his restaurants.

He says he is continuing safe practices already put in place.

“How are we prepared for it? I know my staff, we’ve been talking about training, obviously we’re all wearing masks and gloves,” he explained.

They are cleaning tables after each party leaves. The Big Wisky is outside so, during phase 2, restrictions have been easy to adjust to.

“Everything’s pretty much socially distanced. We’ve got the open air the breeze that is constantly going through so you don’t have to worry so much about the dining in,” he said.

During phase 3, capacity restrictions inside and out are lifted with physical distancing still required. He says for both 757 Crave and The Big Wisky, even though restrictions will soon be eased, he is going to continue to play it safe.

“I want to be very conservative and cautious but yet hopeful. We’re going to keep it the way it is, and my team and I are watching the numbers of the folks coming in and the numbers on the news,” said Sitjar.

He says in the coming weeks, if things are still going well he’ll think about expanding capacity at both restaurants. He just wants staff and customers to be safe.

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