Customers excited to be back as Stanislaus County businesses reopen

Local News

CERES, Calif. (KTXL) — Many businesses in Stanislaus County received the green light to resume dine-in service earlier this week.

“My seating is so much more limited than it used to be and it’s weird not letting people just walk into the restaurant,” said La Morenita co-owner Javier Gonzalez. 

Although many were excited, they also had to adjust to the new dining experience. 

“Awesome, man,” said customer Rich Brunetti. “You know, socialize back. Everything is going back to normal. It was terrible before, you know what I mean?”

Brunetti was at La Morenitas in Ceres on Friday and said he was excited to be able to order one of his favorite meals at his go-to restaurant. 

“You know, this is kinda weird looking at this now,” Brunetti told FOX40. “Every other booth, it’s kinda strange.” 

With the green light to reopen, there are also new guidelines. 

“I’m thankful that I have guidelines that allow me to open,” Gonzalez told FOX40. “I know that there are still some places that aren’t open, so I really feel for them.”

Gonzalez explained that many tweaks have been made from the entrance of the restaurant to the dining room. The employees wear masks and the tables have no condiments on them. 

“Everything’s different. If you look right over here, you see my hostess stand is now outside,” said Gonzalez. 

People who decide to dine-in will also have to remain at least 6 feet away, which cuts the restaurant’s capacity by about half. 

“I’m a little nervous about everybody coming in, but be patient with us,” said Gonzalez. “We will do our best to get you seated and accommodated.”

Gonzalez said he does anticipate more customers in the coming days but is facing some challenges with staffing. 

“I only lost four staff members,” said Gonzalez. 

According to Gonzalez, those employees were paid minimum wage and he said he can’t compete with unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act. 

“I’m understaffed. I need to get more people in,” explained Gonzalez. “I have to expand my staff because of the new seating and delivery drivers.”

Despite all the changes, staff and customers agreed it was nice to be back. 

“Weekends, I get the fajitas no matter what,” said Brunetti. “We got the best fajitas in the world here.”

While restaurants and retail businesses have been allowed to open, places such as bars are still closed.

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