ARIZONA NEWS

Diners begin to return to Arizona restaurants on limited basis

May 11, 2020, 8:25 AM | Updated: 2:47 pm
social distancing...
(KTAR News Photo/Kevin Stone)
(KTAR News Photo/Kevin Stone)

PHOENIX — Restaurants in Arizona began resuming dine-in service Monday in the next phase of reopening the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced a week ago that customers could return to sit-down dining under social-distancing guidelines that include party limits of 10 and comprehensive sanitation techniques and employee guidelines.

From large chains to local mom-and-pop eateries, restaurants prepared to host patrons for the first time in nearly two months.

Weekend regular Cathy Franklin made a special trip to visit the Chompie’s near her Paradise Valley home early in the morning.

“Back to normal … whatever normal is,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Franklin said she received an email from the chain explaining how it would be protecting customers and staff.

Chompie’s managing partner Joseph DeMatteo said tables were placed 6 feet part, per guidelines, and large plexiglass partitions were installed between booths.

“We’re all wearing masks, we all have gloves on,” he said. “Everything is getting sanitized after every use.”

Restrooms are being checked every 15 minutes and hand sanitizer is available to customers in three spots in the dining area, he added.

Phoenix-based restaurateur Sam Fox, the founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts, said 11 of his stores opened Monday in four markets. Flower Child locations in Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix and Tucson are open, along with The Henry and Dough Bird. He plans to follow with several Culinary Dropout and Zinburger locations in the coming days.

“Our goal is not to be busy for the first week,” Fox told The Associated Press. “Our goal is to make sure we have our procedures in place, our employees are feeling safe. We really want to get this right the first time.”

The usually crowded Flower Child in the Phoenix neighborhood of Arcadia had many tables missing. Some of the others were marked as reserved to maintain distance between customers. A handful of people dined on salads, bowls or entrees, but most of the food went as takeout.

Ducey’s stay-home order, which went into effect March 31, is in effect through May 15. He extended it, with modifications, before it was initially set to expire at the end of April.

He allowed retail stores, hair salons and barbershops following guidelines to reopen Friday.

Ducey made the decisions about opening up while citing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

However, some restaurants have said they will remain closed until the governor’s stay-at-home order expires or they feel prepared to meet new conditions.

On the Navajo Nation, which is seeing some of the highest infection rates in the United States, restaurants remain limited to takeout and delivery. The tribal president was considering extending the restriction beyond May 17, when it is set to expire.

Ducey said other businesses and facilities, including gyms and swimming pools, will be allowed to open later.

He said he’s still discussing the best dates and safety protocols with industry representatives. Movie theaters have asked to reopen on July 15 and don’t expect film studios to release movies before then, he said.

The governor has been hammered by some fellow Republican lawmakers who were angered by his extended closure order amid the tanking economy.

Some Republicans fumed when he warned business owners that they’d put their liquor licenses at risk if they defied his orders and reopened before it was authorized.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Follow @KTAR923...
KTAR.com

Phoenix Police searching for missing 6-year-old boy

Phoenix Police is asking for help to locate six-year-old Gerardo Romero Barrera. The child was reported missing on Friday night.
1 day ago
(Photo courtesy of City of Phoenix)...
KTAR.com

Firefighters save dog with ‘Fido Bag’ from apartment in Phoenix

Phoenix firefighters rescued a family dog from a smoke-filled apartment using a life-saving 'Fido Bag' on Thursday.
1 day ago
(Twitter Photo/@ArizonaDOT)...
KTAR.com

Heavy rain, strong winds roll through the Valley on Friday

Parts of the Valley were hit with heavy rain and strong winds on Friday, causing some flooding on highways and power outages. 
1 day ago
(Google Maps Screenshot)...
KTAR.com

Suspect still on loose, 3 parents arrested following lockdown at El Mirage elementary school

A suspect who reportedly had a handgun at an El Mirage elementary school is on the loose and three parents who attempted to enter the grounds were arrested Friday, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/White Castle)...
KTAR.com

White Castle to open spot in Tempe in 2023, 2nd in Arizona

Popular fast-food chain White Castle announced plans to open a restaurant in Tempe next year, its second location in Arizona.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix VA Health Care System)...
SuElen Rivera

Phoenix VA says rat infestation at medical center could be over

The Phoenix VA Health Care System said Friday rodent activity at its medical center appears to have slowed down in the last eight days, more than two weeks after rats were found.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Diners begin to return to Arizona restaurants on limited basis