With customers again allowed inside, local restaurants adapt to new normal

Published: May. 4, 2020 at 4:01 PM CDT
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Restaurants across Kansas have the green light to again open their doors for customers to sit down inside, but reopening comes with adjustments to a new normal.

The first phase of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's phased-in plan to reopen the Kansas economy limits mass gatherings to 10 people. Monday (May 4) is a modified reopening for restaurants welcoming in customers for the first time in several weeks, keeping in compliance with the crowd-size limits, social distancing, etc...

But while safety-related changes add work for restaurants reopening, owners who spoke with Eyewitness News Monday aren't complaining.

Ruben Acosta, owner of Ruben's Mexican Grill in Wichita's Delano District, says he couldn't wait to welcome customers inside his restaurant Monday after weeks of only being allowed to offer curbside and carryout service.

"When I heard the message, I raised my hands and said, 'Yes, that's what we've been waiting for. I've very happy because the business... I need the business," Acosta says.

He says restrictions like only being able to serve 10 dine-in customers in one space (table or section) isn't ideal, but he's adjusting, and so are his customers.

"We've been coming here since they opened and we missed it a lot," Ruben's customer Leonna Greenfeather says.

At Homegrown in Bradley Fair in northeast Wichita, owner Jon Rolph also expressed excitement for being able to welcome customers back inside Monday.

"We're thrilled to have our dining room back open for our guests, you know," Rolph says. "It's fun to see our regulars back and be what we've always been about: hospitality."

Ruben's Mexican Grill and Homegrown are among the establishments across Wichita and beyond implementing safety measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Acosta and Rolph say this effort includes employees wearing masks.

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