BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Restaurants are now open for outdoor dining in Western new York, to go along with take-out and delivery service. 7 Eyewitness News checked in with local restaurants to see how day one went.
The patio at Frankie Primo's on Chippewa Street typically has twice the amount of tables out that it did Thursday evening. It now has five table for seating and two as barriers. Owner Jay Manno said that for opening weekend, reservations are a must.
“Within 20 minutes half an hour after the public found out, we were sold out for the whole weekend," he said.
Restaurants in Buffalo have to comply with social distancing, and an 8pm curfew. Manno said he's doing a 4pm and 6pm dinner shift. Demand for restaurants across the city is high.
At the Thirsty Buffalo on Elmwood Avenue, owner Gregory Andreozzi said they were as packed as they could be for six tables, and had to turn people away.
One hurdle for Andreozzi was staffing, after having to lay people off.
“They’re not ready to come back a lot of them, or aren’t coming back," he said. "They found other jobs and things like that. So right now manpower is the hardest thing to find right now.”
For Manno, a challenge was social distancing at the bar.
“I mean they’re regular customers and I have to tell them 'I’m sorry there’s only 10 seats at the bar, I can’t have people standing right now,'" he said.
Western New York can begin phase three as early as June 16th if it stays on track, allowing people to eat inside restaurants. Manno has his sights set on full re-opening, but said this was a positive beginning.
“You know what I am— I’m in phase two and a half of a happy," he said. "I want to get to Phase 4 of happy, but we’ll get there.”
Outdoor dining was not originally included in phase two guidelines.