Local restaurant implements guidelines as state authorizes Fresno County to allow dine-in


FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – With the state authorizing Fresno County to move into Phase 2.5 of reopening, restaurants can now open for dine-in, as long as they follow guidelines set by the state.

Vatche Moukhtarian owner of Cracked Pepper Bistro says he acknowledges that it’s going to take time to get ready and this Memorial Day weekend may not be enough.

“Most of our vendors I was talking to, they’re being shorted by the plants, so if they ordered a palette of New Yorks, they may be only getting a couple of cases,” he said.

In addition, he has to get employees back in the restaurants and have the guidelines required by the state set in place.

The state requires restaurants to implement physical distancing protocols, such as floor markings or signs.

At Cracked Pepper Bistro, they’ll be using every other table for seating in order to leave distance in between.

Face coverings are also required whenever employees cannot maintain distance, such as the kitchen. Moukhtarian said he’s purchased face shields for his employees.

He’ll also be checking employees’ temperatures and having them fill out a questionnaire before starting their shifts.

Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias said the council has committed $250,000 toward getting face masks for small businesses, such as restaurants, who are struggling to get them.

“We’re going to be securing thousands of face shield masks and distributing them to small businesses to make sure that their customers can be safe when they enter their business,” Arias said.

Bars in restaurants that allow dine-in and all stand alone bars will remain closed. However, diners can have drinks at their tables once seated.

Cracked Pepper Bistro will start slow at 30% to 40% capacity and with reservation only dining.

“It also depends on customers’ confidence, are they willing to go out, so that’s going to have to be a water that we’e going to have to test,” Moukhtarian said.

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