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Restaurants reopen hoping for surge of customers

Fewer seats due to social distancing
Posted at 7:52 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 22:56:13-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - If you’ve been itching to get out of the house and go someplace, as of Monday restaurants are one of the places you can do that.

Restaurants are able to open again for sit-down, dine-in service but they still have to adapt to a lot of restrictions to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.

At Vero Amore on Swan they’re preparing a place for you on the patio. Owner Suzanne Kaiser decided to start out with sit down service on the patios only at both her Vero Amore restaurants and at her Noble Hops brew pub in Oro Valley.

She feels like the fresh air environment is the healthiest way to make a comeback along with all the cleaning and distancing rules.

Kaiser’s been happy for all the community support when her restaurants were take out or delivery only. But she says her business still dropped about 70 percent.

“We had to lay off close to 70, staff, and some of them didn't get unemployment. And so we were feeding them and giving them money.”

Now she says she’s been able to bring back most of her staff to serve customers she hopes will come back.

Baja Cafe concentrates on breakfast. Zeke Courson says takeout business helped keep them going but it was a relief when Governor Ducey allowed sit-down service again.

“We really can't survive, much longer without business. And what we do is really create an experience for our guests and we always have and that's been part of our shtick.”

The Empringham Family was happy to head out to dine in, at their very first chance.

“We've been to Baja a few times and so it's really nice to be able to actually just be able to be out and be with your family and I enjoy a nice, nice meal out.”

Restaurants do worry about the way distancing rules leave fewer seats for paying customers but they hope the hunger to get out of the house and have a good meal will help fill those seats.