PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Tuesday, restaurants in Philadelphia will be able to serve diners indoors for the first time in months. Many say they are more than ready while others plan to proceed on the road to recovery with caution.
The best way to describe how restaurant owners and managers are feeling right now? Anxious and optimistic.
Over 200 people can fit inside Yards Brewing Company — pre-COVID.
On the eve of indoor dining returning to Philly at 25% capacity, they’re apprehensive.
“It’s still weird. It’s still going to take some time,” said Yards General Manager Frank McLaughlin.
The plan is to keep two staffers inside to service 10 to 12 tables. But McLaughlin reserves the right to pull that back.
“I think it could still happen but we’ll talk to the staff and make sure everyone is feeling comfortable and make sure we’re doing everything right,” McLaughlin said.
In Old City, Fork will be opening up one table — a four-person wood slab across from its French doors.
“You know, taking one step at a time. Moving forward, I think it’s just a great way for everybody to just kind of acclimate and get adjusted to the next step,” said Forkowner Ellen Yin.
“We had to learn how to reinvent the service industry and this came out of that,” one person said.
Cuba Libre has employed a 66-page reopening manual, including new sanitation methods like using a fogger, handled by a “disinfectador.”
They’ve installed UV lighting and hospital-grade filters in air ducts and plan on filling their seven inside tables Tuesday.
“We feel like we’ve prepared ourselves,” said one worker.
Three restaurants, three plans — all trying to keep the health and safety of guests and workers in mind.
Back at Yards, their indoor capacity is about 40 people.
But they’re fortunate, they have a generous outside seating situation. Other restaurants are not so lucky.
Though Mercy Mosquera is wearing one, there is no masking how she feels about what’s happening Tuesday.
“Very happy,” she said. “We miss our customers. We miss to see the place full.”
Mosquera owns Mixto off Pine and 12th Streets. And though she says business has been decent with outdoor dining, she and her staff are ready to welcome guests back inside.
“By the city, we have a lot of steps to follow,” she said.
Those include limiting capacity to 25%, allowing no more than four people at any table, bar seating is not permitted and alcohol can only be served with a meal. There are also specific personal protective equipment servers must wear.
At Mixto, Mosquera says, with the additional diners that will be inside, she’s had to hire additional staff. She will have 20 staff members working starting Tuesday.
CBS3’s Dan Koob and Greg Argos contributed to this report.