Tennessee restaurants prepare to reopen at half capacity Monday

National

CLARKSVILLE, Tn. (WKRN) – Preparations are underway at restaurants across the state of Tennessee Sunday as owners prepare to safely serve customers at half capacity Monday, under Governor Bill Lee’s phase one of reopening.

“Everything’s six feet apart,” said Co-Owner of Wagon Wheel Cotterell’s Family Restaurant Cheryll Cotterell, “We’re gonna be cleaning everything so even if they go to the restroom, everything’s gonna be bleached down.”

Cotterell and her husband Danny measured distances between tables with measuring tape, separated out individual condiment packets, and bleached the floors Sunday afternoon, precautions that are now a new normal during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ll be here to serve everybody, so I’m not sure what to expect,” Cotterell expressed.

It’s been a difficult two months with clientele primarily elderly veterans, their sales began to decline in early March.

“When the governor made the decree that we would shut the 22nd, I had to lay off everybody,” Cotterell explained.

There were days when they didn’t know if they would make it through.

“There were many of those days in the beginning, I didn’t think we were going to make it, I didn’t think we were going to be able to pay any of the bills,” she said.

One of the last restaurants to get a PPP loan, they say they’ve made it to this day by the grace of God.

“The workers here, we’re gonna have our gloves on and we’re gonna have our masks,” she said, noting that the entire staff will have home-made masks donated by a friend.

Adding, “There won’t be anything on the tables, they’ll have to ask for anything throw away.”

Choosing to seat only 4 to a table and adding a few new menu items, they’re excited to serve customers hot plates and share stories again.

“We’re gonna love them, but just from a distance. Where as normally, we would give them a big hug, we’re not gonna do that right now,” Cotterell said, “We want them to feel safe here and to continue coming back day after day.”

Tennessee’s largest cities including Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and others, are determining their own reopening plans and will not open restaurants Monday.

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