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Dallas Diners Tentatively Return to Restaurants After Dining Rooms Reopen

Some spots were busy, but the 25 percent occupancy guidelines mostly kept crowds thin over the weekend

The Rustic/Facebook

Diners across Dallas and its suburbs slowly made a return to restaurants over the weekend, following an executive order from Texas governor Greg Abbott allowing dining rooms to open across the state.

Even though many Dallas restaurants chose to keep their doors closed for now, plenty of DFW dining rooms were open for business this weekend, including The Rustic, Shell Shack, and many of the restaurants at West Dallas dining development Trinity Groves. At those spots, though, crowds were relatively thin this weekend, thanks in part to the requirement that restaurants only allow 25 percent of their normal occupancy.

Dallas mayor Eric Johnson acknowledged that hesitancy in an interview with CNN on Sunday. People have not been rushing back into these restaurants, and they haven’t been rushing back into the areas of the economy that the governor reopened on Friday,” Johnson said. “What we are seeing is people sort of putting their toe back in.”

The reopening of restaurant dining rooms happened just two days before Dallas County reported its highest single-day increases of new cases on Sunday, according to NBC DFW. At present, the county has reported 4.133 positive cases of COVID-19 and 111 deaths. A similar trend was seen statewide over the weekend, with Texas reporting its highest number of deaths in a single day since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some restaurants, though, were as crowded as the statewide occupancy restriction would allow, especially those with outdoor dining spaces. One location of Mi Cocina boasted a two-hour wait on Saturday, and the patios of the Addison and Irving locations of Gloria’s Latin Kitchen were busy. Dallas Morning News reporter Evan Grant reported a similar scene at the Snuffer’s outpost on Greenville Avenue, noting that the beloved cheese fries destination employed disposable menus and removed all condiments before the table before he was seated.

One thing that didn’t appear to be particularly common among restaurant diners? Masks. While most restaurant servers were masked up, many diners entering restaurants in Addison, Uptown and Lower Greenville were not wearing any kind of face coverings, which are currently recommended for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control.

Time will tell whether or not “reopening” Texas restaurants will have negative impacts on attempts to slow the spread of coronavirus, but one thing is clear — the 25 percent capacity limit implemented by Abbott’s “Open Texas” plan isn’t sustainable for long.

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