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Johnson County restaurants prepare to welcome customers

Posted at 6:08 PM, May 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-10 19:09:23-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Stay-at-home order restrictions will start to ease on Monday as Phase 1 of the reopening plan goes into effect in Kansas.

Customers can dine-in at restaurants as long as they follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and keep tables 6 feet apart.

It’s welcomed news for many restaurants in Johnson County that are only allowing take-out orders and curbside service.

"We’re excited to be back open, that’s for sure,” said Benny Morina, owner of Viona’s Italian Bistro in Overland Park.

The empty tables will be filled soon as they plan to reopen on Tuesday. In the meantime, Morina hired back his employees and is training them to follow the state’s guidelines.

"We’ve been training on how we are going to do this and how we’re going to keep our customers safe as far as social distancing and our tables 6 feet away from each other,” Morina said.

The new restaurant was only open three weeks before having to switch to curbside service.

"Obviously, with adding another engine of dining in, it helps a bunch,” Morina said.

Just down the street is Maloney’s Sports Bar and Grill, which also is preparing to welcome customers inside.

"The excitement is there, that’s for sure,” said General Manager Scott Wenta.

On Sunday, employees wiped down tables and measured how far apart tables should be, making sure they are following social distancing rules.

"We will be serving with gloves and face masks, especially throughout the first phase," Wenta said. "We have sanitize stations set up at different parts of the restaurant that we’re changing some of our tables that won’t be in use will be sanitize stations."

This will be the first time they will see customers inside the restaurants since mid-March, bringing a sense of normalcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Once we get those customers walking in the door, that will make us feel normal," Wenta said. "We’ve been here by ourselves and it’s been very lonely."

Morina said that having employees return to work is a "normal feeling again."

More information about Johnson County’s reopening guidelines, based on the the type of industry, can be found online.