Restaurants Optimistic About Capacity Increase


Restaurants now have more flexibility with covid-19 restrictions. Capacity has increased from 25% to 50%, and they have the option to stay open until 11p.m. instead of 10p.m.

“It was so amazing to have more people in our restaurants and bar, and to be able to have them a little bit longer was really nice too,” said Renee Dillon, manager for Sidebar in East Lansing.

After being shut down at the start of the pandemic, to opening at 25% capacity just last month. Restaurant owners say they lost a lot.

“We’ve probably lost about 50 thousand dollars in sales in the last year,” said Jessica Kairkeatrick, manager of The People’s Kitchen in Lansing.

Restaurants have had to rely solely on take out. Dillon says Sidebar rarely offers takeout, but with 50% capacity, and an extra hour they can fully reopen their business.

“Dine in is what we do, so we were able to finally start running the business again,” said Dillon.

Acapulco Mexican Grill co-owner Carlos Vera says their first day with 50% capacity was busy.

“We’ve been having a long wait, yesterday we had a 2 plus hour wait. It’s not what we want obviously but it’s good that we’re busy,” Vera said.

But for The People’s Kitchen, Kairkeatrick says business was average, but she’s hopeful it will get busy this weekend and in the future.

“I would like to be packed, I want it to be a wait all day,” said Kairkeatrick.

Overall these workers say increasing capacity and adding another hour to business is a step in the right direction.

“Just a little bit of that extra revenue that’s being able to come into these businesses is really great,” said Dillon.

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