COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association- SCRLA- formed a Hospitality Industry Resilience Task Force to submit a plan on reopening restaurants to the state house.
Bobby Williams, the Board Chair of the SCRLA and CEO of Lizard’s Thicket, told News19 by watching other states, listening to restaurateurs and working with DHEC among other resources, they were able to put together a document to send to the Governor.
“If we do open, which its going to be several weeks it looks like now," Williams says, "We’ll do a gradual opening, hopefully we’ll get some outdoor dining done first. We want to get open but if our customers don’t feel comfortable coming in- then we don’t need to open until its absolutely the right time.”
Williams says social distancing and sanitation will play big roles in reopening restaurants,“I think the general public is doing a great job with social distancing so when we do open the restaurants it won’t be that abnormal to social distance.”
Some of the things the ideas submitted were: Posting signage asking those with a fever or cough to not come in, installing touchless hand sanitizers at the door, putting a Plexiglas barrier at host stands and potentially changing to single use utensils or menus.
Mike Davis, owner and chef of Terra in West Columbia, just opened back up last week for to go orders after shutting its doors for 4 weeks. While some of his staff are able to help out with curbside- 22 others are currently out of work. He says he would be on board with a slow reopen.
“Let’s give it a try," Davis says, "Obviously it would be like half capacity for the restaurant with some decent space in between all of the tables but anything we can do to get back to some semblance of normalcy with service and with the things we want to try to do- we’re all for it.”
“Yall have trusted us for this many years, when we get back open you’ll have to trust us again," Williams says, "In the long run, the people you trust will be open and we will do the right thing.”
Visit the SCRLA website for more information.