Law Enforcement, restaurants working together to keep customers safe

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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Law enforcement agencies are changing their policies as businesses and restaurants begin to reopen under strict limitations. Police are working hard to make sure restaurant owners and goers are following social distancing guidelines.

Tuesday was the second night for outdoor dining as well as Cinco De Mayo a night that saw hungry and thirsty customers eager for their first meal out in more than a month. Local municipalities say they are working to keep everyone safe.

“We know you’re coming, we know you’ve been pint up and you’re ready to get out here and you’re ready to see this beautiful beach,” says Isle of Palms Police Chief Kevin Cornett. “Help us out by following all of the ordinances.”

Chief Cornett says most restaurants on IOP followed guidelines on their first day open to customers in weeks.

“We’re going today to talk to each of them,” says Cornett. “They opened last night and we saw some of the areas that we need to focus on that maybe we need to go and reiterate what the guidelines are.”

With access points set to be lifted after today, Cornett says the city will be strictly enforcing all restrictions and ordinances.

“So zero tolerance means we will be issuing citations instead of warnings,” says Cornett. “That’s what the purpose of watching last night, coming out today is to talk to them and give them that first warning.”

In Charleston, Dan Riccio the Director of Livability and Tourism for the City of Charleston says leaders are preparing an ordinance that would set guidelines for restaurants.

“The ordinance would require that outdoor seating occupancy to be capped at fifty percent,” says Riccio.

Among setting other guidelines, the ordinance would require restaurants to use strict sanitation methods for reusable plates, silverware and menus.

“Each table needs to be a minimum of eight feet from each other measured from all edges of the table,” says Riccio. “We wound want to limit table groups to eight individuals.”

Cinco De Mayo is known as a busy day for many restaurants. Cantina 76 Manager Ellison Karesh says it’s Mount Pleasant location is doing it’s part to keep customers safe.

“We have each table on the patio is eight feet apart so there’s room for chairs to slide out and everything like that and you’re still six feet away,” says Karesh.

Charleston City leaders will vote on the proposed ordinance Wednesday at a council meeting. Isle of Palms Police Chief Cornett says with checkpoints coming down Tuesday night, the department’s focus will shift to strict enforcement of the zero tolerance policy and safety.

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