WALTHAM (CBS) – After two months of strictly takeout, a sigh of relief for restaurant owners in Waltham. “It’s a new opportunity for us to open and bring some revenue in at least,” said Bistro781 owner Jeff Abellard.
Governor Charlie Baker is expected to announce Saturday whether the state can move into Phase 2 of his plan to reopen the economy during this pandemic. That includes allowing restaurants to serve customers outdoors.
The owner of Brelundi, Michael Columba, has already spent thousands of dollars to prepare. “We’re starting to prepare to set up outside seating in the lawn and the parking area so we can at least have 50-60% seating capacity from where we were,” said Columba.
Along popular Moody Street, restaurant owners are preparing to expand outdoor seating into the street. A portion of the roadway is marked by a red line – allowing eateries to set up tables outside, but the equipment doesn’t come cheap.
“Now it’s tables, chairs, umbrellas which aren’t really cheap, planters, you have to get your staff some PPE equipment, so all that stuff adds up,” said Abellard.
“Less business, extra cost,” Columba told WBZ-TV. “It comes down to seeing whether people do come in.”
The dining experience will be different. Tables will be six-feet apart with no parties larger than six. Restaurants will also be required to provide single-use menus, among other changes.
People along Moody Street say they’d be willing to dine out under the right circumstances.
“I’d like to go out and enjoy the outdoors and restaurants. It’s that time of the year,” said one resident.
“As long as we practice the social distancing and I think I am okay coming out, but not into crowds yet,” said another Waltham resident.
Restaurant owners are equally as eager to get back to business.
“We do not know if it’s going to be a boom or a slow pick up in business, so we don’t know. The unknown is sometimes what causes a concern,” said Columba.