As part of the governor's reopening plan, restaurants in Massachusetts are free to begin seating their guests indoors again - with a number of restrictions, of course. Find out what dining-in looks like as the risk of coronavirus persists.
In the second step of phase two, restaurants without outdoor dining space can begin serving guests on-property once again. Many businesses without room for temporary outdoor dining have been relying on takeout orders up to this point.
The safety and social distancing rules for indoor dining are similar to the restrictions already in place for establishments with patio seating.
Tables must be spaced at least 6 feet apart, diners must wear masks at all times unless they’re seated at their tables, and restaurants must print up disposable one-use menus.
Due to the impossibility of social distancing, guests are still not permitted to sit at restaurant bars.
While business owners are happy to get back to work, many wish the governor would give them more of a heads-up before publicly announcing the next step in the reopening process.
“We’ve literally been getting two days’ notice, so it’s a little bit challenging for me. But we’ve made it work. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Sheila Senat, a South Boston restaurant manager told The Boston Globe.
In addition to rearranging furniture by hand, employees have to deal with logistics such as pre-portioned condiments and arranging for new menus.
Even chefs and kitchen staff have to reconfigure their work stations in order to comply with social distancing.
One highlight of Step Two/Phase Two is that establishments have a contingency space should the New England weather decide to take a turn. As recent patio diners can attest - it is nice to be able to come in out of the rain!
Although restauranteurs are doing their best to make indoor dining comfortable, many patrons still feel safer enjoying their meal in the open air. As summer turns to fall, we will see if they change their tune - or if the coronavirus throws us another curveball.