Social distancing guidelines prevent some restaurants from opening at capacity

Posted at 8:27 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 23:29:43-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — As of Friday, restaurants in most Tennessee counties can open at max capacity, but that doesn't mean all of them will.

Toot's on Franklin Road in Murfreesboro is still operating at about 50% capacity. The reason is the restaurant still has to comply with social distancing requirements. The bar and dining areas are open, but tables must be spaced 6 feet apart.

"That's what a lot of people don't understand about the 100% capacity," said Macey Johnson, General Manager at Toot's. "We still have to have the 6 feet social distancing rules."

Signs currently indicate which tables are available for customers. Since not every table is available, Johnson warned customers may have to wait even though there will be empty tables in the restaurant.

"We've had a wait pretty much every day," said Johnson. "I feel like people are generally accepting."

Signs on the doors also remind customers not to enter the restaurant if they don't feel well. If customers do have to wait on a table, they are asked to stay in their cars rather than the waiting area, until the table is ready.

All servers at Toot's continue to wear masks and gloves, and Johnson said high touch surfaces like door handles are wiped down every hour.

Johnson said takeout business has helped keep the restaurant afloat during the COVID-19 shutdown. She was hopeful customers will support the restaurant during Memorial Day weekend.

"We've already seen a huge bounce back just from having our dining room at 50%," said Johnson. "I feel like if they keep lifting restrictions, we will keep getting busier."