As North Carolina’s coronavirus reopening plan moves forward, downtown Elon businesses have followed suit in lifting restrictions during Phase 2. Restaurants are allowed to reopen indoor dining to 50% capacity and arrange seating so that tables are six feet apart.
After months of takeout orders and revised hours, the town of Elon has provided outdoor seating for restaurant-goers with picnic tables located in parking spots along the train tracks. Customers for The Root Trackside, Tangent Eat Bar, MaGerks Pub and Grill, The Oak House and Pandora’s Pies can use them.
Under Phase 2 guidelines, restaurants are required to continuously clean “high-touch areas” like door knobs and tables. It is also required that employees get daily health screenings. Under North Carolina’s mask mandate, workers are required to wear a face covering when they are within six feet of someone. Customers must wear a face covering when they are not seated at the table, unless they have a stated exception.
Pandora’s Pies announced they are opening a limited amount of indoor seating. Peter Ustach ‘09, owner of Pandora’s, said the stay-at-home order didn’t affect the restaurant too much because their business model is effective with takeout orders. His focus now is on how to prepare his restaurant for classes to start again in August.
“The bigger kicker is what can we learn and how effective can we be so when the students return we’re effective,” Ustach said.
According to an Instagram post, Smitty’s Homemade Ice Cream is allowing four people at a time to order ice cream inside. They are still offering curbside pickup. Ustach said Pandora’s has a different entrance from Smitty’s in order to keep customers safe.
The Root and Tangent are not allowing customers to dine-in. People who want to dine out can still order online and eat at the tables provided by the town.
The Oak House announced extended summer hours and the seating area will also be open and is rearranged in sections in order to social distance.
Fat Frogg Bar and Grill opened indoor dining at 50% capacity on May 22. As of June 4, they said they will be open during the week until 9 p.m. On weekends, they will be open later, “as long as y’all are behaving and having fun,” according to an Instagram post.
Ustach said while he is skeptical about how seriously customers will follow coronavirus safety precautions, he is looking forward to diners following safety guidelines, as well as enjoying their meal. He said his staff is excited to have customers inside again.
“Be patient with restaurants,” Ustach said. “This is not easy for the service industry.”