Local eateries have set tables and strung lights on the exterior of their buildings in anticipation for Monday.
"We are anxious to get open," said Patrick Hurd, the general manager of the Cape Ann Marina Resort and its Mile Marker Restaurant.
In line with Gov. Charlie Baker's four-phase reopening plan during the novel coronavirus pandemic, local restaurants may be allowed to offer outdoor seating starting Monday, June 8.
"If the governor gives the go-ahead for Monday, we will be reopening our hotel and doing our best to get our restaurant open for outdoor seating," he said, explaining that reopening would include additional staff training, heavy sanitization, and adjustment of seating arrangements.
This development in reopening Massachusetts is part of Baker's Phase 2, which he may announce Saturday. Phase 2 would also allow the reopening of libraries, retail stores — including stores in malls — and classes with personal trainers.
A new normal
While restaurants are inching back to some sense of normalcy, the state provided detailed guidelines on how they should operate in order to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
Tables must be positioned so to maintain at least a 6-foot distance from all other tables and any high foot traffic areas. Tables may be positioned closer together if separated by protective or non-porous barriers not less than 6 feet high installed between tables and high foot traffic areas.
Size of a party seated at a table cannot exceed six people.
All customers must be seated; eat-in service to standing customers is prohibited.
Menus must be one of the following: Paper, single-use menus disposed after each use; displayed menu; or electronic menus viewed on customers' phones or mobile devices.
Restaurants may not provide customers with buzzers or other devices to provide alerts that seating is available or orders are ready. Restaurants should instead use no-touch methods such as audio announcements, text messaging, and notices on fixed video screens or blackboards.
A full list of the expectations for staff and customers can be found at https://bit.ly/3eOfQIO
Some restaurants — such as Oliver's Harbor, Captain Carlo's, and Seaport Grille — are gearing up to offer a dine-in option, while others are slowly phasing back into business.
Corey Grammas of Lobsta Land Restaurant is going to be taking it day by day.
"Our intent is to do a soft reopening on Wednesday and then open lunch and dinner with outdoor dining, full service of food and alcohol on Thursday," the owner of the Causeway Street restaurant explained.
For Hurd, the road ahead is going to be a "learning curve."
He explained his staff has been doing takeout and deliveries during the pandemic, but are excited to serve people at their tables hopefully next week.
According to the state's official government website, indoor seating will be permitted later in Phase 2.
Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.