Restaurants get opportunity to open, still expect challenges to meet demands

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RIDGELAND, Miss. (WJTV) – For owners of restaurants and other eateries in certain parts of Mississippi there’s some light showing at the end of this pandemic tunnel. Governor Tate Reeves is allowing, with some restrictions, dine-in services beginning this Thursday.

After more than seven weeks of being shutout of restaurants people in certain parts of the state will soon be able enjoy dining services. 

One place ready to go will be the Burgers and Blues off County Line Road whose recent investment in a food truck kept them afloat. 

“I had no idea at the time but believe you and me it has saved all of our lives during this pandemic,” General Manager John Barnes told us. “It’s been absolutely insane.”

Mayor Gene McGee of Ridgeland has agreed with Governor Tate Reeves to move forward allowing city restaurants to re-open this Thursday at 50% capacity, but the short turnaround time may be difficult for some restaurants. 

“I had to pre-order and over order on a lot of different items just to make sure I had it in stock so that was one challenge,” owner Steven Sahler explained. “You got to get food and make sure you have enough food. The next challenge was making sure we’re in compliance with what Governor Reeves has asked us to do.”

In addition to 50% capacity, every diner must get their temperature taken before entering, hand sanitizer must be available and face masks must be worn by employees. 

“My initial thought was oh yes, but then again we obviously need to keep in mind social distancing,” Barnes said.

“I’m scared if we rush this it’s all going to come back to a halt,” Sahler worried. “I think we all need to be careful and rely on our elected officials to make the best call for our towns and state.”

Another challenge for Burgers and Blues is regrouping the staff on time. 

“We’ve contacted staff that are sitting at home now and about half of them want to come back to work and half of them don’t,” Sahler said. “I get it, but it’s going to cripple our industry.”

These measures can vary for different parts of the state meaning along places like County Line Road Burgers and Blues in Ridgeland can re-open their doors, but just 100 yards across the street on the Jackson side dining services are still closed until May 15.

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