Local restaurants prepare for Phase 1 opening — but some without outdoor seating still need to wait


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) — Phase 1 of reopening in Virginia is expected to start Friday, allowing some restaurants to open outdoor dining to customers.

It has been weeks since customers saw the inside of Taqueria La Patrona in Virginia Beach, and although the new order from Gov. Ralph Northam is reopening some businesses, that will not be the case for everyone.

It’s become the new normal: taking orders online or over the phone to be picked up or delivered.

For Chris Lopez, owner of Taqueria la Patrona, it has been a smooth transition with the help of the community.

“We are doing alright. We actually have no fear of getting out of business,” he said.

He says his utility bills are down and the biggest expense has been extra to-go containers.

“I think what really gave us that extra nudge that we need was the fact that we were allowed to do the to-go drinks. That really made a big difference for us, and I’m glad Governor Northam did that for us,” he said.

But Northam’s latest announcement about reopening the restaurants and allowing businesses to serve at 50-percent capacity outside does not apply to him.

“In our case, unfortunately, we don’t have a patio. We also don’t have a permit to do outdoor seating so we won’t be able to reap the benefits from that,” he said.

He says it is a little disappointing.

“We may see a little bit of downturn in business because people are going to want to go out to those businesses that do have the outdoor seating,” he said.

But just like everyone, he wants to show his support.

“I do look forward to seeing all the other businesses and being able to go out to those businesses, so I can finally eat outside at least,” he said.

He said while they wait for a full reopening they’re going to use this time to perfect new things they’ve learned.

“I’m feeling excited for everything to start reopening again I don’t want it to be too soon, I also don’t want to put anyone’s lives in danger, but I’m excited for that to finally start happening,” he said.

He offers some advice to customers who will be going out to sit at the restaurants with patios: be patient and kind as everyone makes the adjustment.

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