Sacramento restaurants prepare for different way of serving customers once closures begin to lift

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Gov. Gavin Newsom gave no specific timeline Tuesday as to when California could open back up.

“There’s no light switch here. I would argue it’s more like a dimmer,” Gov. Newsom said at Tuesday’s press conference. 

When it comes to restaurants, it seems imminent that life as we have known it will look very different.

“You may be having dinner with a waiter wearing gloves, maybe a face mask,” Newsom said. “A dinner where the menu is disposable, where the tables, half of the tables in that restaurant, no longer appear.”

“We transformed from full, 260-seat diner to, all of sudden, just a little, small, tiny to-go business,” said Eric Anderson, the general manager of Zocalo.

Zocalo on Howe Avenue embraced the changes that came with the stay-at-home order but is ready to reopen.

They already had a to-go system with curbside delivery in place even before the virus hit. So, transitioning into only to-go service was perhaps easier than for other eateries.

“As early as last week, we started to think about, OK, what are floor plans going to look like by the time we start to reopen,” Anderson told FOX40.

Zocalo’s game plan includes fewer tables to allow their customers to socially distance themselves from one another.

They will likely keep having customers order on their phones and placing their orders online, instead of using menus in-hand.

At 500F Pizza x Taphouse in the Arden-Arcade area, there are plans to continue with protective coverings once the doors are back open.

“We’re wearing gloves right now and working, and masks. Probably going to keep it going,” said owner Roger Saini.

Similar to Zocalo, The Mandarin Restaurant on Arden Way is also looking at a new seating arrangement.

“It probably will be something like every other table, keeping things apart,” said Mike Helmich, the owner of The Mandarin Restaurant. “I’ve got two rooms in here, so it’s easy for me to break people up.” 

For those who have built their business on good food and service, each just crave bringing back that face-to-face interaction with happy customers.

“We just want to open up back to normal business,” Saini told FOX40.

“We’ve been in the game a long time,” Anderson explained. “We’ve been through recessions and we’ve dealt with those things before and we’ve stayed open the entire time.” 

“Been here for 38 years. I appreciate your business, coming in and keeping us in business,” Helmich said.

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