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Some Restaurants Preparing To Open This Weekend; For Others, It's The Wrong Time

Photo of the inside of a restaurant advertising waffles
Courtesy of Bethany Teeples
Waffled, a restaurant in Farmington, will resume dine-in service Friday. The state has prohibited dine-in operations for more than a month to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Some non-essential businesses, like gyms and restaurants, have gotten the green light to open Friday. But resuming operations isn’t as simple as just opening the doors.

Dean Pierose, owner of Cucina in Salt Lake City, said although the restaurant has been doing takeout for more than a month, it’s not yet resuming dine-in service. He said opening now is too reckless for staff and customers. 

“I’m a lot more scared to open my restaurant than I was to close it,” Pierose said.

Restaurants that do decide to open must operate under strict state and local guidelines. Employees have to take their temperature, tables need to be 6 feet apart and groups are limited to six people. Based on those parameters, Pierose said he and his chef quickly decided not to open.

“They’re constraints in which we don’t think, number one, the guests would want to be in the restaurant,” he said. “Number two, we don’t want to operate under [them]. And number three, they’re cost-prohibitive.”

So for Bethany Teeples, who does plan to offer dine-in service at her Farmington restaurant, Waffled, a lot of changes have to happen. Shesaid people have encouraged them to get back to business. 

“Everyone’s ready to get back to life,” Teeples said. “They’re cooped up in the house, and they’re willing to wear a mask and then be able to go out.”

Teeples said she knows there’s a risk of the state reversing course if there’s a spike in cases. But if the restaurant has to close again, she’s not sure it will survive.

Emily Means covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @Em_Means13

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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