Huntsville restaurants navigate dining options during surge of coronavirus cases

Restaurants told WAAY 31 how they're trying to keep health and safety a priority.

Posted: Jun 27, 2020 10:55 PM
Updated: Jun 29, 2020 8:53 AM

With the state adding nearly 900 coronavirus cases Saturday, we wanted to see how local restaurants are responding to the increase in new cases.

WAAY 31 spoke with some managers about their approaches to staying open right now.

Restaurants like the Brass Tap have patio seating available to customers who want the dine-in feel without feeling crowded.

But at Phuket in Providence, the only seating option is outside and the owner told us he plans to keep it that way for the foreseeable future.

"So far, I think we are okay even with just the outside, because if you look at our patio, it's a pretty good size," said Furit Phornroekngam.

Phornroekngam is the owner of Phuket and as soon as coronavirus hit Alabama, they closed their dine-in services. That was three months ago, and he told WAAY 31 it'll stay that way until the pandemic is over.

Harold Smith is the general manager of the Brass Tap, and he is keeping both dine-in and patio services open to customers.

Restaurants already operate at 50% capacity and if he cut the size down even more to just outside, he couldn't afford to keep all of his staff.

"We don't want to have to do that to our employees because they suffered for over a month of being unemployed, so we really hope we don't have to do that again," said Smith.

Smith told us business has been slower since the pandemic started, but he's happy to see his customers again.

Although the number of cases keeps increasing, he wants people to take necessary precautions, like social distancing and wearing masks, so they won't have to cancel all their summer plans.

"We have big plans for the summer and we'd like to get back on track with our plans. We do live music here and we have a lot of things for outdoors planned you know," he said.

Both restaurants want to keep their doors open as long as they can, but they say it's not easy.

They hope the community will keep eating local while keeping health guidelines as a top priority.

"We need busy activity to keep it going. We cannot shut down again. We have to be safe and also be able to keep everyone here," said Phornroekngam.

At both restaurants, curbside pickup is still an option for a no-contact way to get your food.

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