AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — Staff at The Stage are busy doing two things: cooking lots of BBQ chicken, and making sure to utilize every inch of their space for social distancing.
"I had a meeting yesterday with the Health Department, for a couples of hours probably, and just going over the safe way to do it with cleaning," said Bob Bieber, owner and general manager of The Stage. "And we're going to have different areas that will be used, and another will be cleaned, and then when new people come in, we'll sit them down and we'll be able to keep a cleaner, safer environment here."
The Erie County Health Department ordered The Stage to close earlier this week after Bieber said customers refused to wear masks.
"We did as much as we could possibly do in asking people to put on a mask. And some people just wouldn't do it and they said they have their rights," he said. "It hurts us a business owner because you can't force someone to put a mask on and they shut us down."
But The Stage complied with state regulations, and were allowed o reopen Thursday.
"It wasn't that we didn't follow any of the guidelines, we did, but if a person tells you they're not going to wear a mask, what do you do?" said Bieber.
Bieber said he's hired additional security and increased staffing to help make sure customers are wearing masks.
For now, it's back to business, with a different dish on the menu every day.
"We'll have adequate seating, spacing, and wear your mask in here and wear it when you go to the bathroom and sit down at the table with your friends, and enjoy. And just have a nice atmosphere a nice night," said Bieber.
The Stage is open for dining, delivery and takeout.