Restaurants opening for dine-in share advice with other owners

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VAIL, Colo. (KDVR) — It’s all going to take some getting used to; the tape on the floor for social distancing and the waiting in your car before your table is ready.

It’s the learning curve Coloradans will have to overcome and restaurants will have to enforce as dine-in services are allowed to return statewide on Wednesday.

“People have been a lot more receptive to the protocols than I expected,” said owner of Garfinkel’s in Vail Mike Dunlap.

Dunlap was able to get a head start on the rest of the state thanks to Eagle County’s approved variance that allowed him to open on Memorial Day. He says they actually did better than Memorial Day a year ago, but the patrons were much more spread out throughout the day, instead of coming in bursts.

“My advice is to make sure that they have their entry ways, they put as much signage up as possible, cleanly, so people understand what they’re getting into,” Dunlap said. “We went on our social media and told everybody what to expect when they were gonna come in today, and that has helped us immensely especially with the local crowd and our normal customers.”

New guidelines for restaurants include six feet between tables, and a maximum of eight people per party. Dunlap says some people tried to wiggle around that threshold.

“My advice that I do have to give other restaurants is if somebody shows up and says theres gonna be six of us, or they say the limit, you need to make them wait till their whole party is there, because I’ve had a couple people pistol whip us on 16 and 10,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap says he’s hopeful that restaurants will be uniform in practice moving forward to help restore consumer confidence in going out to eat.

“If every restaurant in the state becomes consistent with what they do, and everybody’s consistently following that same protocol without varying or wavering from it, then the customer base gets used to it,” Dunlap said.

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