Bars, restaurants, patrons all taking precautions as restrictions are easedOctober 14, 2020
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Restaurants are adapting to a new normal including returning to full capacity with social distancing and masks to keep customers and employees as safe as possible.
Masks, social distancing and hand sanitizer are all still realities for those looking for a night out on the town, capacity limits at restaurants and bars are not. Bar owners say it’s another step towards recovery while others are questioning the decision to ease restrictions.
Restaurants and bars are officially operating at full capacity for the first time since March. Some say the change in restriction is too early.
“I don’t think that we should be opening restaurants at all, I don’t think it’s really smart to do full capacity right now,” says tourist Daniel Wear.
Like so many others, Wear says COVID-19 has kept him out of public settings since the pandemic began.
“My mom has pre-existing conditions, my grandma has pre-existing conditions,” says Wear. “I haven’t seen either of them in months.”
And while full capacity is a step towards normalcy, Keith Benjamin who serves as Operating Partner at Uptown Social, says it shouldn’t be reason to let guard down.
“That doesn’t mean that we are in any position to sleep on what’s going on,” says Benjamin. “COVID-19 is still very, very real and we take that seriously.”
The benefit of the change, the return of jobs for those in the entertainment industry.
“To have a higher occupancy allows us to afford to book more DJs and more bands, bring those guys back to work,” says Benjamin.
For bar and restaurant owners it’s a glimpse into pre-COVID-19, Benjamin says he’s remaining cautiously optimistic.
“But in terms of taking the right steps forward and getting back to normal, I feel like we are trending in the right direction and the numbers seem to be holding pretty steady,” say Benjamin.
And while masks and social distancing are required, Benjamin says there’s only so much his bar can do to keep patrons and employees safe.
“It’s up to them to do what’s right and make sure they are taking all of the right precautions to keep other people safe,” says Benjamin.
Bar owners say they’re hoping for a return of the 2am last-call sooner rather than later for the next step towards recovery.