Bars, restaurants anxious to reopen but will take time in doing so

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — From restaurants and coffee shops to movie theaters and bowling alleys, we’re getting a better idea of how things could get “back to normal” in Sioux Falls.

Friday the city council will look at getting rid of the ordinance limiting customers at some businesses to 10 people. They’ll look at replacing it with some new rules.

Here’s the proposal Mayor TenHaken has for restaurants and bars. They could serve up to 10 customers or their regular occupancy, as long as all parties are at least 6 feet apart. At the very earliest, if the council agrees with them, these new measures could take effect on Friday, May 8.

Thursday’s announcement is welcomed news for a lot of business owners, including those who run bars and restaurants.

KELOLAND News spoke to one owner and one of his workers about the potential of reopening and what they will do to keep their customers safe.

The chairs have been up on tables at kRrav’n ever since it closed more than a month ago due to threat of COVID-19.

But if the city council approves the new proposed ordinance, business owner Mark Fonder says they’ll come down with social distancing in mind.

“We’re going to set up tables measure out six foot apart, make sure people don’t move them together and have bigger groups than that, we’ll have everything set in place and some guidelines for everyone to abide by and employees will have some precautionary measures too when they come into work,” Fonder said

One of those workers is bartender and server Brandee Weinkauf.

“I never imagined being 25 collecting unemployment,” Weinkauf said.

She says she’s not worried about serving the public again and is ready to get back to work.

“Seeing people again, seeing our regulars you know friends who come in here, but definitely the money too,” Weinkauf said.

Fonder says he still has work to do before re-opening, but hopes the city council approves the new ordinance so he can get back to business whatever day that might be.

“I just don’t want to put out a date to rush everyone, we want to make sure when we open up we are ready to go and have all the necessary measures in place like setting up the patio with tables and chairs we just want to make sure the customers are safe and employees are safe,” Fonder said.

Fonder says under the proposed ordinance, if it passes, he’ll probably be operating at about half the capacity, but he’s okay with that.

The first reading for the ordinance change is planned at a special city council meeting Friday. It will need a second reading next week before taking affect.

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