By: Mia Summersen, Sentinal Staff
With restaurants set to take the first step toward reopening Monday, owners of local establishments are getting together — virtually — to discuss their plans.
Starting Monday, restaurants will have the option of serving diners on outdoor patios as part of Gov. Chris Sununu’s amended stay-at-home order, after being restricted to take-out and delivery since March.
Luca Paris, of Luca’s Mediterranean Cafe in Keene’s Central Square, has been hosting weekly meetings to help members of the local restaurant industry prepare.
During Wednesday’s meeting, held via the video-conferencing platform Zoom, Paris discussed some new ideas to make dining out safer. He said he’ll create QR codes that guests can scan with their smartphones to call up a digital menu, eliminating the need to distribute physical copies, which would need to be sanitized for the next guest.
Paris also discussed using plate toppers and said he has been handing out sanitizing wipes with pens when customers need to authorize their payments.
He also said he’s not taking any chances when it comes to staff who are sick, and is sending home anyone who feels under the weather. He recently did so with an employee who wasn’t feeling well, even though his symptoms did not match the ones associated with the coronavirus, Paris said.
Danya Landis, a co-owner of Machina Arts: Kitchen and ArtBar on Court Street, said weekly meetings with other members of the local restaurant industry have been an important part of the reopening process. She said they’re able to work together to navigate the changes and keep up with a rapid influx of information.
“As a restaurant owner during a pandemic there are a lot of challenges to face,” she said. “Keeping up with current information is even more critical to our success in this time — and these meetings are giving us a forum to keep each other informed, share ideas and help lift each other up.”
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