After weeks of waiting, restaurants in Pueblo and all across the state are welcoming customers back on Wednesday. However, with the strict COVID-19 guidelines, not every restaurant was able to opens its doors so quickly.
All day Wednesday, customers could be seen ordering food and drinks at 1129 Spirits and Eatery's patio along the Riverwalk.
“We’ve all been waiting for the day we can reopen and begin doing business again,” said Heather Hart, the Bar Manager at 1129.
Hart says business during the lockdown orders has been dependent on curbside delivery, so they're happy to have customers back on the patio.
However, Hart says all the COVID-19 guidelines they are required to follow can get intimidating for her staff.
Here are just a few of those guideline points:
- Masks are a must for all staff.
- Any time a waiter interacts with a customer (even if they don't touch), staff must wash their hands and changes gloves.
- Before staff members start their shift, they must take their own temperature.
- When food or drink is delivered to a customer, the waiter must place it down on the table so customers can grab the drink or food themselves. Any platter brought out to customers must be disinfected every time.
- When a customer orders their food, the menu must be discarded and not reused.
“Service standards are really changing," said Hart. "I think that’s really the thing that’s difficult.”
Next door at Angelo's, the patio still sits empty. The Italian restaurant first learned the new list of guidelines early this week.
Angelo's ownership says it needed another day of staff training before they felt comfortable to serve again on Thursday.
“We’re adding to what we’ve been doing for years," said Debby Foresta, an Angelo's owner. "We are just adding to it. Were just worried how customers may react to all of these rules and regulations.”
At 1129, Hart is also concerned regarding the customers experience and is asking for patience.
“We don't have a problem adhering to the guidelines," said Hart. "But we’re really hoping that our guests are going to be understanding.”
To help with these strict guidelines, Pueblo City Council and Mayor Nick Gradisar approved an emergency ordinance Tuesday night allowing restaurants to expand their dining areas onto public sidewalks and streets. This can be done so long as the restaurant obtains permission from the city.