Restaurants gearing up for reopening of dine-in services today

Indoor dining is now allowed up to 75% occupancy (PNC photo)

Island restaurants are gearing up for the re-opening of dine-in services on Friday, May 29.

Today, PNC spoke to the managers of two establishments to find out what they’re doing to get ready.

It’s been a difficult few months for the managers and employees of the island’s sit-down restaurants. Now, with the governor’s decision to allow the conditional -reopening of dine-in services, they’re anxious to get back to work.

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Selena Elicio, the proprietor of the Outback steakhouse in Tumon, said they are all very excited.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking right now. We’re a little nervous. We know that there are a lot of procedures and restraints that go into re-opening. But we’ve been waiting and we’re just chomping at the bit to get our doors open. We miss our customers. We miss our regulars. We miss serving people. So, we’re ready,” Elicio said.

Frank Tretasco is the general manager of the Red Lobster just down the road from the Outback in the Tumon Sands Plaza.

Like many restaurants, Red Lobster has been getting by on takeout orders for the past two months.

“Take out only for the last couple of months. Absolutely. The past couple of months have been really difficult. We’ve had to re-invent ourselves and had to come up with some creative platters to just get people to come in,” Tretasco said.

When he heard the news yesterday, he called all his employees back in to get the restaurant ready to serve dine-in customers again under the social distancing mandates required by the governor.

“We’ve had our staff come in and we’re sanitizing everything, top to bottom, floors, chairs, tables. Everything that’s in-site we’re sanitizing. Of course, restaurants are only allowed to, when we open, 50% capacity. So we’re doing tables 6 feet apart. When guests come in, no mask no entry, of course. Everyone’s going to get their temperature taken at the door. We’re going to set up hand sanitizing stations and everyone’s gotta sanitize their hands,” Tretasco said.

He added: “We are excited, and we can’t wait.”

The Outback’s Elicio said: “We’re going to always have someone stationed at the door doing employee and customer temperature checks. We want to make sure that we keep everybody safe. With our tables, we have distanced them 6 feet apart so we’ll be closing off every other table.”

One big questions remains: what do patrons who must wear masks do when it comes time to eat?

Elicio answered: “So when they get to the table, they’re able to take off their masks. We just ask as soon as they get up, as they’re walking through the dining room or out to use the restroom, that they’re again in their masks.”

Dine-in services will be allowed to resume tomorrow morning at 8 am.