LENEXA, Kan. — For some restaurants in Johnson County, Kansas, Monday felt like opening a new restaurant, for others, it was the same as usual.
Leaders in Johnson County began lifting stay-at-home orders Monday in order to follow the same guidelines that Gov. Laura Kelly laid out for the state.
Phase one of the reopening plan allows some retailers and restaurants to allow customers inside, as long as they can be six feet or more from one another and businesses can keep areas clean.
Ronnie’s Restaurant in Lenexa had a line of customers eager to eat inside right when the doors opened at 6:30 a.m.
Across town, Pegah’s Restaurant is still serving carry-out only.
The manager said just because they’re allowed to reopen the dining room doesn’t mean the staff feels comfortable reopening.
Brandy Stroble at Pegah’s explained the difficultly the restaurant has had obtaining cleaning supplies. They don’t want to open their dining room until they have a comfortable amount of sanitizer, gloves and masks.
“If you can’t find the proper cleaning supplies, how could you let people in? Like I said, I can be as clean as I want to, but I don’t know how clean you are,” Stroble pointed out.
The crew at Ronnie’s has hand sanitizer dispensers in place for customers.
They’ve also made a series of other changes to make sure customers and staff are safe from COVID-19 while they reopen.
Those changes include staff wearing gloves and face masks, one door for entering the restaurant and a separate door for exiting. One server will bring food to the table, a different server will bus the tables. Ketchup, salt and pepper will all come in individual servings instead of sharing a bottle or shaker at a table. Staff take the temperature of everyone before they enter the restaurant to make sure they’re not running a fever.
Customers are not required to wear masks, as it is impossible to eat with a mask covering your mouth.
“Even before this started, we took precautions to be clean and provide a great service for our guests and our customers. We’ll just kinda continue to do what we do with another checklist of things to go above and beyond maybe what we did before,” explained Dave Hendrix, who owns Ronnie’s Restaurant and Kate’s Kitchen - a Northland restaurant set to allow a dine-in option Friday when Kansas City, Missouri, begins easing restrictions on restaurants. Each restaurant is named after one of his children.
The group of regulars at Ronnie’s Monday morning said they were pleased to be back to their old habits and did not mind the changes.