St. Louis area restaurant owners react to new capacity changes
The restaurants in St. Louis City and St. Louis County are now ready to open at full capacity.
ST. LOUIS – Restaurants in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County are now ready to open at full capacity.
County Executive Dr. Sam Page and Mayor Tishaura Jones made the joint announcement on Monday morning. The relaxation of restrictions in the region is known as the Reopen STL.
RESTORE STEO HEALTH ORDERS:
- Masks are still required to enter a restaurant
- Masks can be removed outdoors once you are fully vaccinated
- Restaurants can now be expanded from 50% to 100% capacity
- The city’s midnight lock is over
- The 6-foot rule of social distancing is still at play
Page said they decided to relax restrictions for a number of reasons. The vaccine is widely used. The number of cases has stabilized over the past few weeks and it’s the guidance they’re getting from public health experts.
READ MORE: Curfew, restaurant capacity restrictions in the St. Louis area lifted, but mask mandate remains
It’s been over a year since we’ve seen restaurants reach full capacity, but not everyone will be able to.
The Planter’s House on Lafayette Square is currently 50% occupied.
With the requirement to put tables and parties 6 feet apart, owner Ted Kilgore feels like they can’t bring in much more.
“Really, not much will change for us. Maybe we can take a few more places here and there,” said Kilgore.
It won’t stay open too late either and will only extend an extra hour until closing time. It is now until 11 p.m. during the week and until midnight on the weekends.
Rick Lewis, owner of Grace Meat + Three in the Grove, stated that he will stick to that 50% limit as well.
“I don’t know if it means a lot to us to add more tables with space constraints. It seems like a Catch-22, it doesn’t seem to make much sense,” he said.
Andy Karandzieff, owner of the centuries-old Crown Candy, also commented on the easing of the restrictions, calling them in some ways misleading.
“To hear that restaurants are now 100% operational is misleading. Given current social distancing regulations, most restaurants will not be able to regain full capacity,” Karandzieff said. “We still have to place and separate tables and manage the inflow and outflow to continue to maintain 6 feet. Additionally, we still don’t have to explain all of ours to customers who are wondering why we are, over and over again every day Use tables. “
Some restaurants can be expanded.
Kevin Nashan is the chef and owner of Sidney Street Café. The site has been in operation for 17 years.
It is currently 50% but is expected to increase to 70%.
“I’m grateful for the good news, I was expecting this to happen in July. So it’s an early Christmas present. The important message is that St. Louis is saying, ‘Hey, we really feel safe, so say it to the people. If you are vaccinated, you should support everyone. ‘”
Mai Lee and Nudo House owner Qui Tran increases the capacity from 50% to around 70-75%. But it won’t go to the full limit because of another problem: staff shortages.
“They left the field and did other things,” said Tran of former hospitality workers.
The other restaurant owners said the same thing and found it almost impossible to rent.
Lewis said more jobs are being hired, which means more options, and unemployment benefits can also contribute to hiring problems.
The owner Lisa LaRuffa with Farottos Pizza and Pasta in Rock Hill said the restaurant was now at capacity due to a lack of staff.
However, Tran also said that another reason not to do everything is to make people feel safe even with their staff fully vaccinated.
Aaron Tietelbaum, owner of Kingside Diner and Herbie’s, is a member of the restaurant advisory board that meets with the St. Louis County Department of Health on how to proceed.
Tietelbeum said nothing was going to change in his restaurants.
“We will work the same way because of the safety, comfort and experience of the guests,” he added.
As the ball rolls on to possible new changes, these owners are reminding you to be patient with your appetite.
“I ask everyone to be patient. None of us run as efficiently as we used to. So we will do our best,” said Tran.
The new rules come a few weeks after Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sent a letter to the St. Louis County Department of Health questioning the county’s restrictions.
Calling them the strictest in the state, he asked the health director to cite the medical research and data that are driving the county’s shutdown orders.
The county replied and the next day that site would soon ease restrictions.
Schmitt released a statement Monday in part saying, “Sam Page, Executive of St. Louis County, today reversed course and eased many restrictions. We will continue to monitor this situation and safeguard the individual freedoms of Missourians in St. Vigorously defend Louis County and throughout the state. ” . “
You can see the full announcement starting Monday morning in the YouTube video below.