MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW) – Restaurants across South Carolina opened for outdoor dining Monday under Governor Henry McMaster’s executive order, including some on the Grand Strand.
It has been more than two months since restaurant staff could serve their customers in person. However on Monday, that all changed.
The owner of Uncle Mikey’s Pizza in Murrells Inlet, Mike Zalloum says business has been great despite being open for takeout only, but he hopes opening for outdoor dining will bring in even more customers.
“Thank God and thank everybody and thank our president and our governor and law enforcement, they are allowing us to open (outdoor dining), and it’ll take a lot of stress out of people who are sitting in their houses,” Zalloum said.
Across the street, staff at Inlet Sports Bar and Grill say locals used to spend a lot of time at the bar until the coronavirus shut it down. Senior bartender, Melissa Tyree says she is excited to serve the locals on their patio.
“It will bring people to where they can come and at least communicate with each other. Right now people are out there fishing for a place where they can spend some time, you know what I mean,” Tyree said.
The governor’s order says restaurants cannot seat more than eight people at the same table at once and tables must be eight feet apart. Staff is also required to sanitize after serving each customer.
In Myrtle Beach, ART Burger Sushi Bar is open for outdoor dining. Staff are regularly sanitizing high traffic areas and checking employees’ temperatures to keep everyone safe.
Operating partner, Daniel Becker says while locals have continued to support the restaurant by placing takeout and delivery orders, it hasn’t been busy enough to provide ample hours for their servers and backhouse staff. He says the new order allows him to give employees more hours.
Becker says opening outdoor dining will improve business, but it won’t compare to the restaurant’s typical 96 seats.
“I’m extremely happy we’re able to operate within the parameters of the patio seating, however, this provides me 16 seats. That’s 16 seats to entertain and feed guests and 16 seats to help my staff make money to pay their bills,” Becker said.
The restaurant hopes that with the city’s permission, it can add picnic tables in the green space behind the property to expand seating options.