Following Gov. Kay Ivey’s announcement Friday that loosened coronavirus restrictions effective 5 p.m. Monday, numerous businesses in Wetumpka reopened to customers Monday afternoon.
The order allowed businesses such as restaurants, bars, fitness centers, hair salons and more to operate in a restricted manner.
Coosa Cleaver owner Ryan Friday and his staff were busy Monday morning making preparations to the dining room.
“We are obviously excited about the opportunity to open,” Friday said. “There are just a lot of anticipation or nerves to follow guidelines that we are required to adhere to.”
A challenge the restaurant has to contend with is the bar that splits the downstairs dining room in half.
“We are not quite done figuring out how to organize the tables downstairs,” Friday said. “We are still playing with seating to get the 6-foot spacing. We have a lot more flexibility upstairs with seating.”
Friday, who opened his restaurant nearly a year and a half ago, hopes customers will be willing to go out to eat again.
“My No. 1 hope is that people stay safe,” he said. “No. 2, we just hope people come back. We were doing really well before and started to make strides with customer service and things of that nature. Now we are having to do something different and the whole flow of the restaurant will be different.”
The restaurant will go back to offering its full menu of items after scaling back the past few weeks for curbside pickup.
“As long as we can get everything (ingredients) we will have our full menu,” Friday said. “There may be some limitations depending on food service distributors getting products to us.”
Diners Jason Robertson and Michael Jones took advantage of the state’s relaxed COVID-19 rules by eating hot dogs on the patio at Grumpy Dog.
Robertson welcomed the chance to do so.
“Cabin fever was a big deal,” Robertson said. “Getting out, talking to people, seeing people walk around is something I am used to. A month ago, we didn’t know how long (the stay-at-home order) was going to last.”