Updated: June 04, 2020 07:43 AM
Created: June 04, 2020 05:26 AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Starting on Thursday, restaurants and taprooms can reopen for outdoor dining.
However, it's a scramble for many restaurant owners, many who thought they wouldn't be able to open until at least the end of this month in Phase Three.
It's not just a matter of putting tables outdoors, it means rehiring or scheduling staff to come in on Thursday. In some cases, local governments require a permit for outdoor dining.
During his daily briefing on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced restaurants and taprooms “can” serve meals and alcohol on-site to diners in outdoor seating. This is in effect for the seven regions of the state now in Phase Two of reopening, including the Finger Lakes.
Despite the last-minute change, News10NBC caught up with owners at eateries like the Charbroil House in Greece and Mark Petzig, the owner of Shamrock Jack's in Irondequoit. Both places offer outdoor dining normally and say many restaurants already have a lot of the requirements already in place.
“I had to ask for some last-minute favors from my vendors, but we'll be ready," Petzig said.
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Duffy said this will allow us to take advantage of outdoor dining.
“In Upstate New York, our outdoor eating season is not especially long,” Duffy said. “So now, being in the beginning of June, [it’s a] great time to start it off but, little by little we are taking big steps to get out of this pandemic.”
Restaurants have a list of requirements to meet that include spacing seating and tables 6 feet apart for social distancing, disinfecting and hand washing. Servers will have to wear a mask as will customers, anytime they are not seated.
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