FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – The governor has recently announced plans for reopening nonessential businesses, including restaurants.
If West Virginia can keep under a 3% positive test rate for three consecutive days, then the plan to reopen small businesses can begin in the coming weeks.
Jeffrey Toth, owner of the Wood Iron Eatery in Fayetteville, says that even though restaurants may soon reopen, business won’t go back to normal for a while.
“You have all this stigma of people being weirded out about being around other people and that definitely gonna impact business,” Toth said.
The plan includes guidelines for restaurants to open outside seating venues, although this opportunity is restrictive if a location doesn’t have enough room for an outside venue.
“When I think of other restaurants, y’know they talk about they’re gonna open for limited outdoor seating. Well a lot of restaurants, even in town, don’t have that option.”
Even if a restaurant has enough room for an outside venue, they might not be able to use it due to staffing issues, since they won’t have enough revenue to rehire their staff.
“We have seating outside but because I don’t have the staff to serve people outside, I’m gonna keep the same format. People are more than welcome to sit at the picnic tables and on our patio, but I can’t provide any other service like table service for them.”
Some business owners are excited about the chance to reopen in the next few weeks, and will even use this opportunity to permanently change some aspects of their business.
Don Williams, the owner of Cafe One Ten in Oak Hill began offering deliveries for the first time in response to the pandemic, and will likely continue them well into the future.
“The one good thing about this whole pandemic is I’ve learned a lot of things I want to tweak business wise, change business wise. Whether it’s the delivery stuff, or certain menu items I might take away or add,” Williams said.
The earliest possible opening date for restaurants with outdoor seating is May 4.