NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With Nashville in Phase One of the reopening process, many businesses have modified their operations to keep customers and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Athens Family Restaurant on Eighth Avenue South in Melrose began welcoming diners back into its dining room this week.
Owner Mohammed Rasras said the first day of offering dine-in service since the pandemic began came with challenges but their loyal customers showed up to eat at their favorite neighborhood spot.
Up to the last minute, staff made sure the restaurant was prepared for half-capacity seating, which is about 30 people for the diner. Every other table is closed to keep diners six feet apart and each one has a sanitizer bottle.
When the weather is nice, Athens will open up their patio to create more space. Menus are kept under the glass tabletops and the restaurant is using plastic silverware.
Pens for signing the check are wrapped in plastic wrappers so the customer can either keep it or throw it out.
Investing in personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies comes at a high cost for the small business, but the owner wants customers to know Athens can be trusted.
“I’m really hoping people start seeing that we are doing our best to keep everyone safe and they start feeling more confident that dine-in would be as safe as curbside pickup. It might take a while and I do understand that, so hopefully within the next month or six weeks or so, people will be opening up and it’s okay to dine-in at Athens,” said Rasras.
Longtime customers will definitely notice the changes and Rasras said it’s all worth it for his customers.
“It might be expensive but it’s worth it, that’s all I can say. We just have to, the way I look at it, we have to do our best to make sure that the restaurant is set up in a manner that meets health department expectations or regulations and requirements to keep everybody safe. And at the same time, set up the budget so we can continue to do that,” added Rasras.
The Metro Public Health Department reported there were no issues with businesses complying under the Phase One guidelines and no major complaints to Mayor Cooper’s office.
Enforcement teams are comprised of member from the Metro Public Health Department and Metro police. You can file a complaint on Hub Nashville.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )