HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Restaurants in New Jersey are getting ready to welcome customers for outdoor dining when the state enters Phase 2 on Monday.
From the curbside crush to forward thinking, socially distant al fresco dining…
“We’ve made it this far and that’s a big plus,” restaurant owner Anthony Pino told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
At Anthony David’s in Hoboken, New Jersey, they’re putting the finishing touches on a parklet for a little extra customer space come Monday. An extended wooden area along the sidewalk allows for 20 more tables at their outdoor cafe.
Reservations are filling up fast.
“We think it’s gonna be a hit for the whole community. With all the other restaurants involved, it gives us an opportunity to just gain more capacity during the pandemic and hopefully this carries us through,” Pino said.
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In Hoboken, the City Council voted to close down some streets so restaurants could expand their outdoor areas even more, putting tables six feet apart in the middle of the road.
“Any means for people to use the real estate of the government, in sidewalks and roads, to spread out and enjoy our small businesses,” Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said.
But spaced-out tables is only one piece of the safety puzzle.
At Mariachi in Millburn, there will be daily health checks for every worker, like most restaurants.
“The employees, you know, telling them to wear masks. We’re taking the temperature once they get here,” restaurant owner Fernando Godinez said.
On the pretty patio at nearby La Strada Pizzeria, plastic utensils will be a must for a few weeks.
“Paper menu, print-out menu, just use once,” restaurant owner Massimilimo DiPietro said. “All the dressing, all the condiments, they will be in a little container, use once.”
Other places will offer menus online for customers to look at on their phone.
RELATED STORY: New Jersey Set To Enter Phase 2 Reopening Monday
“All guest-facing staff will be wearing masks,” said Marilou Halvorsen, with the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association. “Even before the pandemic, outside of health care, nobody does sanitation like the restaurant industry.”
Halvorsen says outdoor dining’s opening day is a long time coming, but there are definitely some nerves as they find the new way forward.
“One of my members said it’s almost like opening a brand new restaurant because of the different struggles. You know, you’re setting up basically your restaurant in a parking lot or on a sidewalk,” she said.
But she says they’re thrilled to offer hospitality again, asking customers be courteous too and stay home if they don’t feel well.