ORLANDO, Fla. — On Monday, restaurants and retailers will be able to expand capacity up to 50 percent, as part of Governor DeSantis's phased reopening plan.
What You Need To Know
- Restaurants, retailers expand to 50% capacity on Monday
- Maxine's on Shine will remain outdoor, takeout and delivery only
- Restaurant building "dining pods" for social distancing
- RELATED: Plan for Florida's Recovery details
As more businesses around Central Florida open up, many people are going out shopping and heading out to eat. And while many are expanding their capacities to meet that renewed interest from customers, not everyone is ready to open up to pre-pandemic levels just yet.
Over at Maxine’s on Shine, the regulars are returning to the popular Mills 50 spot for outdoor dining.
“No, I have not done any indoor dining yet. Twenty-five percent capacity at a little place like this? I think it’s better to focus on this,” said Kirt Earhart, the owner of Maxine's on Shine.
Affectionately known at the restaurant as Mr. Maxine, Earhart said despite safety concerns during the pandemic, it hasn't slowed interest from the community.
So, they've launched a meal delivery service to reach people at home and now offer take-out meals with beverage service outside.
“But it’s great to have people out here today and people have been pretty understanding of, we’re going to take a soft, calculated approach to how we go about serving them,” Earhart said.
On Monday, restaurants reopen indoor dining to 50 percent capacity. But that won’t happen here just yet.
Mannequins take coveted table spots inside, offering a social distancing reminder. In the parking lot, they’re building new ‘island dining’ pods, built for socially-distanced meals.
“Even if it doesn’t mean we’re maxing out what we can do under capacity, that’s OK. That will come with time,” Earhart said.
When they do bring dining indoors again, he says masks and gloves will be required.
“You know as we start getting into it and crowds start coming in, we’ll do things like forehead temperature checks," Earhart said. "And then, the other thing too, pants will be optional with a glove, you know. So you’ve got to keep it a little fun and playful for everybody in there, too."
He said the "optional pants" may be a joke but safety here isn’t. So, they’re taking their reopening process at their own pace, ensuring they are protecting staff and customers settling back into their Maxine’s routine.
"And we’re looking forward to seeing everybody and having a great time with them," he said.
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