Restaurants plead for patience as diners return

As restaurants across the state reopen to customers, some say they are having trouble with patrons understanding the new guidelines, and some are even dealing with rude customers.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – As restaurants across the state reopen to customers, some say they are having trouble with patrons understanding the new guidelines, and some are even dealing with rude customers.

Rick Simone of the Federal Hill Commerce Association and Ocean State Coalition, which represent hundreds of restaurants, says he’s heard from many of them that some of the new rules and regulations are creating confusion or opposition with guests.

“No one wants to be arguing with their guests. And truth be told, we really do understand how the guests feel,” said Simone. “The big thing is we really hope that the governor’s team, the Commerce RI team can come out with a PR campaign that’s just generally giving people the reminders and the tips and not just for dining but for anywhere you’re going.”

Some restaurant owners tell ABC 6 they are so grateful for all of the business they’ve been getting after being shut down for three months.

But they are also pleading with the public for patience during this strange time for their industry as they try to follow the new rules and regulations.

“We’re very happy to have everybody in here but they also need to be calm and patient with us as well,” said Owner at Opa Francois Karam.

Patience seems to be hard to come by in some instances, with more and more reports of rude customers across the state.

“We attempt to remind them of our rules and regulations here in Rhode Island but unfortunately sometimes there’s somewhat of a negative attitude about it,” said Karam.

Under state guidelines restaurants have to require diners to wear masks when they are entering, exiting, and using the restroom.

“They laugh it off, or joke it off and ask if we’re serious,” said Karam. “We are serious. It’s part of the regulations and rules of the restaurant.”

Diners in most cases also need a reservation and need to leave their contact information with the restaurant for contact tracing purposes.

“Typically the customer just does not want to leave their information,” said Karam.

“Sometimes there’s a little hostility,” said Garry Williams of the Rosendale Group which owns Providence restaurant Fish Co. “It happens more than we would like.”

At Fish Co. on the Providence waterfront they’ve had to bring in extra staffing at the host and hostess stands so employees aren’t alone when they need to remind customers of the state guidelines.

“We’re not the ones making the rules up,” Williams wants customers to know. “We’re just trying to follow the rules given to us so everyone is safe.”

Simone says on Federal Hill they’re planning to hang the guidelines outside on hostess stands for people doing outdoor dining so it’s more visible for customers.

“We have some fantastic customers that have been very appreciative, very loving, very caring,” said Karam. “But all it takes is one customer to really ruin it for us.”

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island