CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Restaurants are adapting to a new normal as returning to to full capacity includes the use of social distancing and masks to keep customers and employees as safe as possible.
Restaurants and bars are officially operating at full capacity for the first time since March.
And while full capacity is a step towards normalcy, Keith Benjamin, an Operating Partner at Uptown Social, says it shouldn’t be a reason to let your guard down:
“That doesn’t mean that we are in any position to sleep on what’s going on,” says Benjamin. “COVID-19 is still very, very real and we take that seriously.”
Nevertheless, Benjamin says he’s remaining cautiously optimistic.
“But in terms of taking the right steps forward and getting back to normal, I feel like we are trending in the right direction and the numbers seem to be holding pretty steady,” say Benjamin.
Even for restaurants and bars taking the required precautions, some customers say the easing of restrictions is too early:
“I don’t think that we should be opening restaurants at all, I don’t think it’s really smart to do full capacity right now,” says tourist Daniel Wear.
Like so many others, Wear says COVID-19 has kept him out of public settings since the pandemic began.
“My mom has pre-existing conditions, my grandma has pre-existing conditions,” says Wear. “I haven’t seen either of them in months.”
Benjamin agrees in part, saying that even while taking all necessary precautions, there’s only so much his bar can do to keep patrons and employees safe. The rest of the responsibility falls on the individual:
“It’s up to them to do what’s right and make sure they are taking all of the right precautions to keep other people safe,” says Benjamin.