From disposable plates to shower curtain barriers, Ohio’s restaurants prepare for reopening

Will you dine indoors at a Northeast Ohio restaurant tomorrow?

BEDFORD, Ohio (WOIO) - Restaurants are preparing to reopen for indoor dining Thursday.

Many reopened for patio service last Friday. In downtown Bedford, Sirna’s Café has been busy with takeout orders, but Thursday is the first day the restaurant will be allowed to welcome customers to dine in.

Owner Brett Holycross said “we’re excited. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know how many people are going to come but we’re ready for anyone to come in here.”

Elaine Knox was picking up her to-go order from Sirna’s on Wednesday afternoon. She said she’s glad they’re reopening. “I can come in and sit down and eat dinner like a normal person.”

Sirna’s already has reservations booked for Thursday and Friday. They’re also hosting an ‘End of Prohibition Party’ at midnight.

To prepare for guests dining inside, Holycross and his staff have removed barstools and tables, and installed plastic shower curtain barriers between tables.

In the parking lot, he painted 6-foot social distancing markers for anyone waiting to enter or smoking outside. “That’s giving distance from us and customers we have to all wear masks so when we open the gates open tomorrow we’ll hopefully be ready.”

Knox said the steps “makes me feel more comfortable.”

Across the street, Dolphin Family restaurant has also been busy with carry-out. Now they’re ready to welcome their regulars back.

Theresa Parsons said “everything is going to be different when we open tomorrow.”

At Sirna’s, masks are optional for customers, not employees. But Parsons said when customers come in to Dolphin, they need to wear a mask when not seated at their table. “When you sit you can take your mask off, but if you have to go to the restroom you have to wear your mask and then when you leave, wear your mask.”

One customer, named Michael, said it’s a policy that would make him feel comfortable coming in. “If I go in a place and they don’t have masks on, I’m going to walk out.”

Like Sirna’s if the restaurant is full, you’ll need to wait outside or in your car. They also added wooden dividers and plexiglass. They removed all plates and utensils and changed them out for disposable ones. “No silverware or anything. Even salt and pepper is in packets, ketchup. Everything is disposable,” said Parsons.

She said, “I just hope everybody understands that we have to do this.”

Holycross said his biggest concern is his customers. “Who’s going to be angry, who’s going to be happy who’s going to be concerned somebody’s too close to them.”

Pictures circulated on social media last weekend showing people not social distancing when restaurants opened patios.

Now, they’re hoping their new measures will help things go more smoothly when they reopen. “ I think it was an eye opener for all of us restaurants to really make sure we’re following the rules,” said Holycross. “This is no joke.”

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