A return to normalcy: Indoor dining, nail salons reopen
From servers wearing masks and gloves, amped up sanitation and the addition of dividers at nail salons, more local businesses are beginning to open their doors as part of the second step of phase two of Governor Charlie Baker’s reopening plan which began June 22.
Some local eateries opened their doors immediately, while others are still working on how to implement social distancing protocols.
At Cask & Pig, owner Mario Ribeiro said that not much has changed with how his restaurant is approaching things. He added that most of the safety measures applied indoors are the same that have been applied for outdoor dining such as increased.
“Keeping things clean is basically all we do,” Ribiero said.
The only major change he noted was marking off some of the tables to ensure there is at least six feet of space between them, along with the installation of an air purification system.
The only complaint Ribiero said he has with reopening for indoor dining is that it would have been nice to have a little more time to prepare, citing that the restaurant found out about the restriction lift this past Friday.
“Seems like every new step is last-minute, which is very tough on a business,” he said.
Similarly, Joe’s Original on State Road — formerly Not Your Average Joe’s — was also open for the first day of indoor dining.
Assistant General Manager Norman Lheureua said he, along with owner Steve Silverstein, is very happy that the restaurant can serve people indoors once again. He said that along with a new air purification system, the restaurant has increased disinfecting surfaces and has placed hand sanitizer dispensers on every table.
“We’ve done all we can to make sure that we’ve created a safe environment for our diners,” Lheureua said.
He added that his only concern is patrons getting too comfortable, noting that he sometimes has to remind customers to put their masks on when leaving their tables.
“I just hope we stay safe and don’t end up like Florida,” Lheureua said. “We don’t need that.”
For diners, eating at their favorite restaurants again was something they had been looking forward to for a while.
“It feels good to be out eating and not cooking for once,” New Bedford resident Kerri Barboza said.
Nail salons are also ready to get back to work.
Many nail salons, such as Top Nails on State Road, have reopened immediately, with all shops implementing new safety guidelines.
For those looking to get some fresh paint on their nails, they will find that stations are spaced further apart, with shields placed between customers and nail techs.
“We’re so happy to see customers coming back,” Top Nails employee Joe Nguyen said.
He added that to ensure all surfaces are thoroughly disinfected, employees spend at least 25 minutes cleaning between appointments.
The shop will also serve fewer customers and will serve customers by appointment only. For those who do come, masks are required and customers must go through a temperature check.
Nguyen said that anyone who is feeling sick should reschedule their appointment for 14 days later.
For Dartmouth resident Debby Defreitas, she said she was happy to get nails after all this time and she appreciates that Top Nails still feels familiar in the age of coronavirus.
“It’s the best kind of normalcy I’ve felt in a while,” she said. “It’s so nice to see some familiar faces again.”