Step two in Gov. Lille’s four-phase plan came into effect on March 16, leaving restaurants open to eat customers.
BOISE, Idaho – The lights are on, the closed signs are turned and the doors to some restaurants across the Treasure Valley are back open, but not just for takeout, to eat customers.
So, how has business gone?
“A little better than expected, but definitely not what it used to be,” said the owner of Epis Basque restaurant in Meridian, Erik Mcfarland.
“We had to eliminate a couple of tables and a few places to accommodate and make it feel like everyone had some nice space around them,” Mcfarland said.
He made the decision after receiving feedback from both his staff and customers.
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“What we found out was that people want to feel normal and want things to go back to normal and I realistically think it may take some time before that happens, so we’ve taken extra precautions just like everyone else,” she said Mcfarland.
Like Epis, Firesza Pizza in central Boise has made changes since it reopened.
“Instead of having six feet between the tables, I’m closer to eight feet,” said Firenza Pizza owner Duane Paris.
He has also reduced the number of available seats in the restaurant in half, but despite the changes, Paris adds that business has been slow.
“I was hoping this week would be a little better than last week,” Paris said. “Our deliveries are starting to increase, but I believe our sales have dropped dramatically, previously they are about 25 percent of what they were before COVID and now it has probably dropped another 10 percent, these are tough times.”
On Friday morning, Western Collective, a brewery, opened its doors to eat customers on time for Memorial Day weekend.
“Today has been interesting,” said Western Collective owner Cary Prewitt. “Last weekend when everything came out and restaurants opened again in the state of Idaho, a lot of wineries were opened as food producers and we decided to take advantage of that as well.”
He says the pandemic forced them to get creative. They created new beers, started preserving their products and marketing to grocery stores, and while they continue to do so, customers can now enjoy their products from home and inside their establishment.
“All our servers wear masks, we do table service just so you come, you wait at the front door and you sit at a table and then you get table service, which is a first for us since it’s been ordered at the bar before,” Prewitt said.
“It feels really good to be back at it and we really appreciate this community,” Mcfarland said.
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