LUMBERTON — After being closed for more than two months, reactions from local restaurants have been mixed about new business freedoms offered in Phase 2 of the state economic reopening plan.
Restaurants across the state were given the green light Wednesday by Gov. Roy Cooper to offer limited dine-in service starting 5 p.m. Friday. Phase 2 mandates that dine-in services, including indoor and outdoor seating, is limited to 50% of the fire code allotment for the restaurant.
Your Pie located on Fayetteville Road in Lumberton offers indoor and outdoor seating at its restaurant, and co-owner and operator Kevin Fraley said the reopening process will be a learning experience for his staff.
“We know it will be a learning curve for the workers as we make sure to keep everyone healthy and safe, from the customers to our staff,” he said.
Your Pie opened at 5 p.m. on Friday for dine-in customers.
“We felt like we were ready,” Fraley said. “We have prepared the restaurant to be a clean, safe and sanitary place for people to come eat at.”
Like all restaurants in the state, Your Pie had been limited to take-out for the past two months. Several of Your Pie’s workers elected not to accept work shifts. With the return of dine-in service, most of his staff will be returning to their jobs, Fraley said.
“The staff is ready to work and handle the dine-in customers,” he said. “I know we will spend more on payroll, but I want to make sure our customers are taken care of.”
Fraley said precautions like spacing out tables for social distancing purposes and disposable packs of pizza toppings, normally on the tables in shakers, will be given out to limit contact between customers.
Arnold West, the owner of Village Station and Arnold’s on Roberts Avenue, said his restaurants will not open for dine-in customers this weekend.
“The one thing we were focused on was the safety of our staff and guest, who we consider family,” West said. “We wanted to take all the precautions as if we were protecting our family.”
West did not say when his restaurants might offer dine-in service again.
“We are more concerned with the community, and that’s why we made this decision,” he said. “We did not want to be a part of where an outbreak could happen.”
Adelio’s downtown and express locations in Lumberton will both be open next week, something that hasn’t been seen in almost two months. The downtown location opened at 5 p.m. Friday, and the express location in Biggs Park Mall will reopen next week.
“We are excited to get back,” Adelio’s bar manager Laura Bullard said.
Staff will be returning to work at both locations, and more people are being brought on for sanitation purposes, she said.
With a large influx expected, customers are urged to make reservations before coming to the restaurants, Bullard said.
“Everything is still going to run like we are packed or not,” she said. “Our menu will be without a few items because of the inability to order certain items from our supplier.”
In the meantime, many businesses, whether open for dine-in or not, still will serve takeout orders, given the limited number of people being allowed to eat inside. That has been the model of his two restaurants in recent weeks, including menu adaptation, West said.
“The biggest thing is we are focusing on serving family meals out the door,” he said. “We’ve had a great opportunity the last 60 days as families are spending time and eating together at home.”