Westerly restaurant proceeds with caution in phase two

WESTERLY, RI (WLNE) – With phase two of reopening Rhode Island’s economy beginning on Monday, restaurants around the state now have the ability to provide indoor dining to customers.

Restaurants need to follow a series of guidelines, and seating will be at a limited capacity.

What you need to know:

  • Outdoor dining is already allowed but starting Monday restaurants will be allowed to open their indoor dining rooms and serve up to 50% capacity
  • RIDOH says guests should especially wear masks when not seated at their table
  • Parties will be limited to 15 people or fewer
  • Seating will be by reservation only
  • Restaurants will have to establish 8 foot of spacing between tables’ edges in accordance with guidelines
  • Restaurants will have to provide hand sanitizer with over 80% alcohol
  • Menus should be disposable or have the ability to be sanitized after each use
  • Bar seating is allowed with restrictions

Some restaurant owners, including Tim Brennan, owner of Two Little Fish in Westerly, said he is prepared to provide indoor dining, but he will only be doing it on weekends to be sure it won’t cost him money.

“It’s going to be tough to satisfy the demand. But I’m hoping for the best and certainly if things are not operationally feasible or not economically feasible, then we would just revert back to take-out only,” Brennan said.

Brennan’s restaurant is small and located down the street from Misquamicut State Beach, so he has to do what he can and think outside the box to make sure everyone is safe.

His restaurant is typically allowed to hold up to 49 people, but under the new guidelines, he can only serve three tables at a time indoors.

“Seating is going to be very limited. Most people probably won’t be able to get a table,” he said. “A place where you’re on the beach people usually walk in very informal. There’s usually a line. We’re not allowed to have any of that this year.”

Brenna called it “uncharted territory” and said the decision to open up on weekends is to also make sure there are no hiccups.

“I definitely don’t want to rush into it, be over my head and find out I’m making mistakes,” he said. “I feel that if we proceed cautiously just on weekends, for example, any difficulties that pop up or anything that needs to be fixed we’ll have adequate time to fix them.”

Brennan believes it will work, and he’s happy things are slowly getting back to normal.

“If we have long waits and we’re busy that’s great, you know what I mean, because the alternative is far, far worse,” he said.



Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island