Outdoor dining on the menu for some, a tall order for others

WWNY Outdoor dining on the menu for some, a tall order for others

CHAUMONT, N.Y. (WWNY) - On the first day of outdoor dining, we found some tables packed with customers for the first time in 3 months. But this wasn’t the case at every restaurant as some owners say reopening quickly is a tall order.

The patio tables at The Blue Heron in Chaumont were full at lunch time Thursday. Customers with empty stomachs were full of excitement.

"I couldn't wait to get out and actually go to a restaurant that you don't have to get it to-go, get a real restaurant," said diner Donna Harmych.

"Today was a perfect day to go outside, have a meal - warm, breezy. It's about time we got allowed to do what humans got to do," said diner Lyle Curtis.

Governor Cuomo gave restaurants the green light to open for outdoor dining on Wednesday.

Owner of The Blue Heron Cari Greene says it was a complete surprise and didn't give them much time to prepare. But nonetheless, she was ready to go with a line waiting at the door.

"Everybody is being so positive. The energy is amazing. Everybody's so thankful to be out and about to be seeing other people. It's just a dream come true," she said.

There's a list of rules restaurants have to follow. Tables must be spaced 6 feet apart and staff must wear face coverings.

Customers will also have to wear masks when walking around the restaurant, but when they sit down, they can take the mask off.

At The Blue Heron, there is also a designated entrance and exit. They've put their condiments in disposable containers and are sanitizing menus after every use.

"We're trying to be smart with this and do it the right way so we can keep moving forward," said Greene.

But some restaurants are holding off for now. At the Coal Docks Restaurant and Bar in Cape Vincent, the patio will open Friday, but there won't be service.

It will only be open for people with to-go orders.

The owner believes a lot of their customers aren't willing to be seated yet, but they may start as early as next week.

"It's gonna be a lot different than what everyone's used to, it's not an opening, it's kind of easing back into it, it's the first step of it," said Kaitlyn Radley, morning manager, The Coal Docks Restaurant and Bar.

A first step back to normal.

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