NORTH CANTON, Ohio (WJW) — Owners of a small restaurant are preparing for their reopening day by creating a separation between tables using clear shower curtains.
Like all restaurants across Ohio, the Twisted Citrus in North Canton was forced to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
“It was without warning and it happened right before St. Patrick’s Day, right before March Madness, right before spring break, you know, all those kind of things, so it was a struggle,” said owner Kim Shapiro.
The same owners also have a restaurant called TD’s Tailgate Grill, which has been serving carry-out, and another location near downtown Canton that features a pop-up bar.
For the Twisted Citrus, the accommodations are tight and so even opening the restaurant would be difficult trying to create a large separation between tables.
“Our space doesn’t easily lend itself to 6-foot social distancing between parties. Doing the math, if we had to accommodate that and only have 10 tables in here it wouldn’t make financial sense for us to reopen,” said Shapiro.
So the owners have created a separation between tables using the clear curtains which can be easily sanitized and sprayed down between guests.
But that is just a part of their preparation.
“We have had everything repainted, re-sanitized. Now, obviously we got talking about installing barriers, masks for the customers or masks for our employees, how to socially distance customers … all of that is going into an already challenging business model,” said Shapiro.
The clear curtains will also create an environment where the guests can still feel as though they are not boxed in.
“We wanted something that we could pull back and forth [and were] cleanable ,” Shapiro said. “We will take them down at the end of every shift and run them through the dish and sanitation, and in-between seatings they will be sprayed down with Lysol.”
In the gradual reopening of Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine is allowing restaurants with outdoor seating to open May 15.
Restaurants with indoor seating can open on May 21 with restrictions.
While not normally serving carry-out, the restaurant is providing a take and bake Mother’s Day Brunch for its customers who call ahead by 8 p.m. on Friday.
The brunch, which includes casseroles and parfaits and mimosas to go be picked up on Saturday and baked fresh at home.
Shapiro knows there will still be people who are uncomfortable venturing out at first, but hopes those who will return to her restaurant will be reassured by the measures she is taking that the environment is safe and comfortable and a return to something closer to normal.
“This was not done to try to convince people who are uncomfortable coming out to now come out,” Shapiro said. “We are just trying to reach maybe the 50% of the people who are ready to get out of the house.”