One day after Colleyville mayor Richard Newton issued an order allowing restaurants to serve customers on their patios, diners packed the outdoor dining spaces at popular eateries across the Tarrant County suburb.
Lines and full patios were seen at restaurants like Gloria’s Latin Cuisine, Rio Mambo Tex-Mex, and Benny’s Cafe, according to WFAA. Photos snapped from this weekend indicate that many patrons weren’t following social distancing guidelines or wearing face coverings, despite a provision in Newton’s order that required that those guidelines be enforced at restaurants that chose to reopen.
On the first day of restaurants outdoor patios being reopened in Colleyville, Texas "so long as physical distancing is maintained between tables," a waiter wearing a face mask takes orders from diners eating on the outdoor patio at Rio Mambo Tex Mex. pic.twitter.com/VYP7QQS4ao— Tom Fox (@TomFoxPhoto) April 25, 2020
In reopening, many of the restaurants implemented new protocols intended to promote social distancing. A post to the Facebook page for Gloria’s says that its patio tables were spaced six feet apart, and that restaurant staff would be wearing masks and gloves while interacting with customers. At Rio Mambo, front-of-house staff were required to wear masks, and diners were encouraged to use their phones instead of menus while ordering, among other changes.
As Eater reported last week, Newton amended the suburb’s disaster declaration to reopen a number of businesses formerly classified as “non-essential,” including gyms and salons alongside restaurant patios. The decision is technically in conflict with Texas governor Greg Abbott’s statewide order requiring Texans to “avoid” dining in at restaurants or going to bars, but the governor has not commented on Colleyville’s defiance of the statewide “stay at home” order.
Abbott is expected to announce more details on reopening businesses in the state this week, which could mean that all restaurants will be able to resume on-premises dining service in the coming days.