Some Arizona restaurants may wait beyond Monday to reopen

May 7, 2020, 12:00 PM | Updated: 1:47 pm
(Pexels Photo/Anna Shvets)...
(Pexels Photo/Anna Shvets)
(Pexels Photo/Anna Shvets)

PHOENIX — Arizona restaurants shut down from the coronavirus outbreak can soon open their doors again.

But while restaurants have be given the green light to offer dine-in services again starting Monday, as part of Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan for reopening Arizona, not everyone is on board with the plan.

“Gov. Ducey understood that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for our industry, and that some restaurants would like to wait a bit longer before reopening,” Steve Chucri, president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association told KTAR News’ The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday. “Other restaurants can accommodate seating more that 50% of their capacity while implementing safe distancing.

“… Not everyone’s going to want to do it and some might want to wait before getting their labor force back up to normal circumstances. They’re going to have a wait-and-see mode, and I think you’ll see that across many segments of our industry. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to reopen.”

Chucri says about 6-8% of restaurants have no plans to reopen. He expects closures to some chain locations rather than Arizona icons.

For those that do open on Monday, there’s going to be some noticeable changes for both staff and customers.

As part of the state’s reopening plan, restaurants and coffee shops will only be able to operate with limited occupancy and with built-in social distancing precautions as the state continues to fight off the coronavirus, Ducey said Monday.

Parties will be limited to no more than 10 people while more comprehensive sanitation techniques and employee guidelines will be implemented.

“Again, this isn’t going to be uniform across every restaurant but I do believe most will leave these tables empty,” Chucri said. “So your salt and pepper shakers, your tabasco sauce and those types of things will be on request. Some might bring those out to you in a disposable cup, others will just sanitize and wipe down the bottle and bring it to you.

“Another item that will be noticeable … is having a very aggressive protocol in wiping down handles, whether it be door handles to the front of the house or side door or bathroom door. We are going to be very aggressive in our sanitation.”

Chucri believes another way restaurants can enforce strict social distancing guidelines is through the use of technology.

“Many restaurants have [an online] platform where they will get you when your table is ready, instead of having people huddle in the lobby area and getting within close proximity,” Chucri said. “We will start to see that implementation [of technology] pretty much across the industry.”

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Some Arizona restaurants may wait beyond Monday to reopen