BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (April 27) — Like many restaurants across Tennessee, local eateries are cautiously beginning to reopen their dining rooms and allowing in-house seating, in accordance with new state guidelines.
On Friday, Gov. Bill Lee announced Tennessee restaurants are able to reopen Monday, April 27 at 50 percent occupancy. Additionally, Tennessee retailers are able to reopen on Wednesday at 50 percent occupancy. The state recommends that employees in both industries wear cloth face coverings and that business owners follow federal guidelines for hygiene and workplace sanitation standards related to the pandemic.
Kountry Korner, located on Hwy 22 in Dresden, opened its doors to the public and expanded the restaurant’s hours of operation by opening earlier and closing later. However, this does not mean everything is back to normal. Every other table is closed and everything is regularly washed with bleach. Additionally, employees are required to wear face masks and gloves. As always, everyone is reminded to maintain social distancing, by keeping at least six feet away from others.
Customers are also encouraged to wear face masks in public but are not required to do so.
Similar scenes are played out in restaurants across Weakley County and other Tennessee communities.
Some refer to the precautions initiated to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as possibly being “the new normal.”
However, health officials are hopeful a cure will be discovered for the highly contagious virus within the next 12-18 months.
(For more information, see separate article, “Gov. Lee Issues Guidelines for Restaurants, Retail Stores to Re-open this Week in 89 Counties.”)
Jeff Washburn, owner of Poppi’s Pizza, located 115 South Poplar Street in downtown Dresden, says he will continue to offer delivery and pickup service, but not in-house dining until the Covid-19 danger has passed. He noted this is to ensure the safety of his employees and many loyal customers, who have continued to support his restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic. Store hours are now 4 p.m. to. 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Likewise, Lacabana Mexican Restaurant, located on Hwy 22 in Dresden will continue to offer carryout service, but no inside dining for the time being.
Local fast food restaurants in Dresden, such as McDonald’s and Subway are also providing drive-through window service for their customers, but no inside dining.
In the City of Martin, restaurants and retail stores are reopening with strict guidelines.
Other Weakley County municipalities are likewise continuing to reopen cautiously. Most fast food restaurants continue to offer window or curb service, but no inside dining.
Jim Shelton of Shelton’s Restaurant in Greenfield said, “We will not be opening dining rooms to every other table this week. I just can’t bring myself to do it – and we need to. We will still be doing to-go pickups at Shelton’s and Wimpy’s Corner. Shelton’s regular hours are subject to change this week, but for now are the same as always. Wimpy’s Corner will be open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.”
Tammy Ellis Collins Simply Southern in Gleason says her restaurant will open Friday – takeout only. She said, “For the next seven weeks, we will only be open Tuesday – Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.” The store is offering takeout only for the time being.