Arizona eased its restrictions on dine-in services Monday, but some restaurants are holding off on re-opening until they feel the virus is more contained.
“We are not re-opening the dining area just yet,” said Michelle Bitner, who owns Michelle’s Bar & Grill in Morenci. “Due to the safety of our employees and customers, we will not be opening our dining area at this time.”
Michelle’s Bar & Grill will continue to offer drive-thru and take out services.
Like Michelle’s Bar and Grill, PJ’s restaurant in Clifton will continue with curbside services only.
“To keep my employees and customer’s safe, we will not re-open for dine-in services at this time,” said Jackie Norton, who owns the restaurant. “I have been watching the numbers very close to those affected by the coronavirus, and of course, it is my opinion, but it’s my decision.”
The Miner’s Diner & Bar in Morenci will continue to just offer curbside services to their customers for the time being.
“Due to the coronavirus still going around me and the other owner, Jessica Dugger, have decided to keep the dining area closed,” said Tracy Cauthen. “We want to keep our employees and customers safe and were giving it a little more time to make sure before we open the dining area back up.”
Other restaurant owners in Greenlee County were thrilled to open.
“We are excited to re-open, it has been long overdue,” said Stacey Scott, one of the owners at GiMees Restaurant in York.
The state allowed the restaurants to open with the understanding that they’d have limited capacity, six feet or more space between tables, and no parties with more than ten people.
“We are continuously sanitizing every time somebody comes in or leaves or touches something; we are just continuously sanitizing,” said Scott. “We maintained regular business hours all except we’re closed on Sundays for right now to continue our sanitization process.”
GiMees had to resort to delivery and takeout services while the dine-in was closed, but they made it through the lock-down.
“We survived thanks to our loyal customer base, and we are mainly family-owned and operated, so no one lost their job,” said Scott.
After opening the dine-in for the first time since mid-March, Scott and her employees have been busy serving their customers.
“So far, we have been doing good, a lot of our regular customers have already returned and are excited, and it’s been a great atmosphere,” she said.
With limited space and capacity, The Ranch House in Duncan is in full swing as the doors opened for dine-in services on Monday.
“We are really excited to re-open the dining area,” said Samantha Ellis, the Ranch House manager. “We were a little nervous to re-open, and my mother, who is the owner, was a little concerned, but after we re-opened, we have been very busy.”
The Ranch House has been following the state’s safety guidelines, too, Ellis said.
“We have placed the tables six feet apart, and we are sanitizing everything off the table after a customer gets done dinning,” said Ellis. “We sanitize the chairs, the salt shakers, and the menus, and we’re regularly washing our hands and just making sure we take the time to disinfect.”
The Ranch House also offered curbside services during the shut-down and Gaye Donaldson and Susie Adan, both life-long Franklin residents, said they took full advantage.
“You miss the socializing, but you still get good food whether it’s dine-in or dine-out,” Donaldson said.
During the shut-down the women said they tried to order curbside service from all of the local restaurants.
They were among more than a dozen customers having lunch at the restaurant on Friday. They’d also dined there Monday.
Ellis said she was grateful for their regulars.
“Being in a small town and having loyal customers we were able to survive, and as well we got to keep the entire staff, no one was laid off or had to take any furlough days,” she said.