When we open again...
According to our governor, today marks the beginning of Phase 2, which means restaurants can be open for outdoor or patio seating, which does not include Sofia Ristorante, because we are unable to provide that because of our location on Main Street in Hudson.
There is an official MA COVID-19 checklist specifically for restaurants to comply with. I have included it here, as it pertains to customer seating, word for word, courtesy of mass.gov.
When indoor table service is permitted, restaurants are encouraged to structure operations to operate as much as possible through outdoor table service and to strictly limit indoor table service in order assure effective compliance with social distancing requirements and to limit activities within confined spaces.
RESTAURANTS MUST COMPLY WITH THE FOLLOWING SECTOR SPECIFIC SOCIAL DISTANCING RULES FOR PROVIDING DINING SERVICES IN ALL CUSTOMER SEATING AREAS:
must be positioned so to maintain at least a 6-foot distance from all other tables and any high foot traffic areas (e.g., routes to bathrooms, entrances, exits); tables may be positioned closer if separated by protective/non-porous barriers (e.g., structural walls or plexi-glass dividers) not less than 6-feet high installed between tables and high foot traffic areas.
the size of a party seated at a table cannot exceed 6 people
Restaurants may not seat any customers at the bar, but subject to any applicable building and fire code requirements, bar areas may be re-configured to accommodate table seating that complies with all spacing and other requirements in these COVID-19 safety standards
All customers must be seated; eat-in service to standing customers (e.g., around bar areas) is prohibited
Restaurants provide carry-out or delivery service, but all safety standards for table separation, size of party, and hygiene must be maintained for any indoor and outdoor table seating that is available to carry-out patrons
All other amenities and areas not employed for food and beverage service (e.g., dance floors, pool tables, playgrounds, etc) must be closed or removed to prevent gatherings of customers.
In addition to what is listed above, all menus must be printed on paper and discarded after every use. Masks are required for all employees, as well as any patrons walking around (i.e., being seated, going to the restroom, etc). Patrons may remove their masks once they have been seated. Our governor strongly urges all restaurants to get contact info for all diners, in the event that a positive case of COVID-19 appears in a worker, patron or vendor, so all diners can be contacted. If a restaurant is connected with a positive COVID-19 case, it will be required to shut down for 24 hours to be cleaned and disinfected.
According to the news reports, the governor did outline that "indoor seating" will be in part 2 of phase 2, which will be announced at a later date, so we know it's coming. I know the crowded dining rooms are a thing of the past, but once again, our now-empty tables will have happy diners in them once again. We welcome this, in whatever form it happens to be. It means we will see each other once again. But then again, as always with this COVID-19 situation, nothing is written in stone. In fact, it seems things change every day, so I guess all I can say is, stay tuned...