Restaurants prepare for reopening and hope for the best

Jeffrey Lavarino, the owner and executive chef of Chef Inasal, hopes to recover from the virus' economic impact.

Following a trend of low to no positive cases of COVID-19, residents may soon be able to eat at their favorite restaurants as the governor is looking to allow businesses to provide dine-in services by next week.

Restaurants may open their doors for dine-in services for the first time in months after Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero announced potentially pulling back more COVID-19 restrictions.

“My next lift of restrictions would be to allow the dining in at restaurants at an occupancy level of 50 percent,” the governor said.

The governor expects to receive draft public health guidance for her consideration tomorrow and following its review and approval, aims to allow restaurants to have dine-in services by Monday, May 25, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

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While these plans are tentative, some members of the restaurant industry such as Jeffrey Lavarino, the executive chef of Chef Inasal, hopes to recover from the virus’ economic impact.

At this moment, it’s kinda scary but also we need to survive. The restaurant is pretty beat up already. Bills are piling up. We don’t have that many customers. Not like before,” Lavarino said.

To keep both customers and staff safe, Lavarino says that precautions such as only serving up to 20 patrons for dine-in at a time and health screenings will be taken.

“We’re going to do all the adjustments for everyone to be safe at the restaurants. We will reduce the seating capacity, we will put the distancing, and put sanitizers on every table,” Lavarino said.

As for TJ Temengil, the kitchen manager of Eat Street Grill, he says that the reopening of dine-in services is exciting as it will allow many of his employees to get back to work.

“With the reopening, the main concern first is safety and making sure that everyone is safe while they’re dining in – even before they come in. We have to make sure that proper safety procedures are done before they enter and after they leave. Especially because this COVID isn’t completely gone yet,” Temengil said.