By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
With the lifting of restrictions, restaurants resumed dine-services last week.
“I love it. It feels nice to be free again,” said Jeff Weaver who enjoyed a mid-afternoon meal on the patio behind the Oxford Tap last weekend.
“Everybody’s pretty happy that we are back open, a lot of regulars,” said Sara Taylor, a manager at 5-1 Diner.
HomeGrown Brewing’s general manager, Jeff Powers says the first week back has been awesome. “We’ve done weekend numbers on weekdays, people are definitely ready to get out.”
Though the dining hall is open, most people are eating outside on the patio, in the fresh air.
Restaurants are still offering curbside service, but Powers says carry-out has only accounted for 20 percent of business since reopening. Regular customers who supported the brewery during the crisis, are now just coming in instead.
Powers says he isn’t nervous, he’s happy. “This isn’t a place of fear-mongering or politics or anything like that. We’re here to sell food and beer and make people smile.”
Staff and management have undergone Covid safety training and all employees are wearing a mask whenever they interact with the public. “We’re being as responsible and respectful as we can about it, but it’s really a refreshing thing to see how grateful the public is just to have this opportunity and they’ve been very flexible with our reservation policies.”
For now, dine-in services are reservation-only, seating in 15-minute intervals. “We’ve been spacing things out, putting an hour and a half time limit on things just to utilize our spaced out floor plan,” Powers explained.
He isn’t worried about the M-24 construction, either. “We just went through a pandemic, a few potholes ain’t nothing.”
By James Hanlon