LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - More and more restaurants are welcoming customers back into their buildings with new safety precautions in place.
On Tuesday, The Weber Group reopened The Charmant, The Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern, and Schuby's Neighborhood Butcher.
The Charmant and The Waterfront are both operating at 50% capacity while following CDC and WDEC guidelines. Servers, waiters, and chefs are required to wear masks while working. Staff is also enforcing social distancing by staggering seating in both restaurants.
Charmant GM Michel Gabbud and his staff were excited to open their doors but understand the importance of making people feel comfortable and safe.
"People have fears," said Gabbud. "People are also optimistic too... That things get better and so people are very excited to go out and venture out. Go for a good meal. Go for a great drink."
Many restaurants in the state have adopted similar measures as The Charmant and The Waterfront. Constant cleaning, hand sanitizer stations, and staggered seating have taken over many patios and dining areas. Some restaurants have remained closed and are still only offering curbside or delivery options.
Gabbud said making a reservation is now highly recommended for any restaurant due to capacity limits. Just because a person sees empty tables doesn't necessarily mean they are available due to social distancing.
While some restaurants physically removed tables and chairs to create social distancing, The Charmant simply placed flower vases on tops of tables that will not seat guests. Gabbud also implemented throw away menus to reduce contamination.
"It took a lot of preparation, new menus and new procedures both on the room side as well as food and beverage," said Gabbud. "I think it’s going to be a consistent change, and it’s probably going to take a couple of months."
Staff will be forced to adjust to the 'new norm,' but many are just happy to be working again and serving people an experience.