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Tampa Bay restaurants back in business with safety features in place


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Lunchtime at American Social on Monday had a main feature: Customers.

Many restaurants all over the state are back open as part of the first phase of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan.

“I think everyone wants to return to some sense of normalcy. I do believe people will be much more cautious then they were prior to COVID-19,” said Adam Perhosky, director of marketing and events at American Social on Harbor Island.

To help ease fears, every table at American Social has a new centerpiece: A bottle of hand sanitizer. Tables are spaced six feet apart, which is a CDC guideline, and occupancy inside is limited to 25 percent, per the governor’s order.

Right next door, at Jackson’s Bistro and Sushi Bar, the workforce is back and working to keep things spick and span.

“Obviously sanitization is a huge key for us and that has been a priority,” general manager Miles McConnell said.

While 8 On Your Side was there, workers cleaned menus. They plan to do that after each use, McConnell said.

Inside, every other booth is closed to make sure customers are at least six feet from those at other tables.

“We’re excited to get open and get going. It’s a beautiful day. We already have several people on the patio so it’s a great thing to see,” McConnell said.

At Bella’s Italian Cafe in South Tampa, hours are amended for the next few weeks.

The restaurant sent an email to customers highlighting the changes they will notice when they show up for dine-in service:

  • There will be a designated entrance and exit to keep foot traffic moving in one direction. 
  • We will use disposable menus. 
  • All touchpoints will be sanitized throughout the day and after each guest. 
  • Tables will be kept empty until your server brings such items as salt & pepper, side plates, etc., as requested. 
  • Our silverware, glassware and dishes are always sanitized after every use.

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