MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina restaurant leaders advise the state to reopen outdoor dining by Monday, May 4th. Governor McMaster announced he will be lifting current restrictions following guidelines from S.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association‘s (SCRLA) plan.
Restaurants have the green light to open outdoor seating areas including patios, balconies, rooftops, parking lots, and sidewalks, according to the temporary outdoor seating guidelines.
The guidelines state all tables must be spaced at least eight feet apart, seating no more than eight people at a table. Even under strict conditions, some restaurants say they are happy to follow the guidelines.
“Typically on Friday and Saturday nights we are typically about a two-hour wait,” Andy Shaw, Russell’s Seafood Restaurant owner said.
Evenings at Russell’s are known to bring in a packed house. The restaurant reopened this week after shutting down for a month. On Friday afternoon, more good news was on its way.
“Luckily today McMaster said for outside dining on Monday so I’m sure our customers will be greatly appreciated to hear that,” Shaw said.
Along with patio service starting Monday, Russell’s is making good use of the rest of their outdoor space.
“So we will probably put some tables out and space them out quite well in the parking lot and have our parking to one side of the lot and have some tables off to the others as well as some tables up on our patios also,” Shaw said.
The SCRLA recommends all tables, chairs, and seats should be cleaned/sanitized after every customer.
“We’ll be sanitizing everything making sure as soon as a table gets up it’s completely wiped down, just as we would before but just making sure everything is getting wiped and every corner of it is,” Shaw said.
While the patio will offer limited seating, Shaw predicts people will primarily use takeout until the inside reopens. With chicken bog cooking for customers outside the restaurant, Shaw says regular customers and locals will help draw curbside business.
“But people do want to just come to sit outside now and enjoy their meal and have a drink with it as well of course and just relax as a family again,” Shaw said.
Governor McMaster is also lifting the work-or-home order, making it voluntary starting Monday. Indoor dining remains closed and social distancing guidelines eliminate gatherings in the building.