Indiana restaurant owners taking different paths to reopen safely

Posted at 10:00 PM, May 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-10 23:25:51-04

AURORA, Ind. — Indiana restaurants are scheduled to reopen their dining rooms Monday, days ahead of Kentucky and Ohio. The reopening requires restaurants to stay below 50% of their restaurant's capacity, to comply with social distancing needs between customers.

The logistics of reopening properly, and a concern that customers aren't ready to return means restaurant owners in Indiana are taking different tactics to achieve the same goal of a safe reopen.

"I can't speak for other people, but I'd rather take it slow and be as safe as possible when it comes down to it," said Matthew Sweeney, owner of Third and Main. Sweeney isn't ready to open his dining room back up yet, despite the struggle his restaurant has had to stay afloat on curbside pickup orders and selling fresh steaks for customers to cook at home.

Employees are deep cleaning Third and Main's dining room now and tentatively prepping for a dine-in opening on May 18.

Over in Lawrenceburg, the State Line Restaurant has been hit hard, too.

"It's been an issue," said owner Lana Fideli. "A real big one for us."

State Line Restaurant will open up their dining room on Monday, but they're already prepped for the strict rules. Fideli said the front-of-house staff will all wear masks and gloves, all customers will be seated by staff and cleaning procedures will be stepped up.

"We're wiping everything down," she said. "Trying to get ready. You can see that. We've been cleaning for three days."

Fideli said she's nervous concerns over the pandemic could still keep customers away, but she's excited to once more serve customers inside her restaurant. She hopes the food will bring them in early, and often.

"I know we'll pull through it," she said. "We've been here a long time and don't plan on going nowhere. We've got some good, faithful customers."