Outdoor dining opens in Pennsylvania suburbs as weekend begins

HAVERTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Restaurants in suburban counties around Philadelphia began serving customers at tables Friday for the first time since March.

Danny Katz, owner of West Avenue Grille in Jenkintown opened his patio at 9 am.

"It's a really exciting day. It feels like we're getting some normalcy in life," said Katz.

But it's not business as usual yet. Katz and his staff have carefully arranged the outdoor patio for Friday morning's reopening.

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There are half as many tables in order to leave at least six feet distance between them. There are also large planters to fill in the gaps.

Katz said the initial response from customers has been strong.

"The phones have been nonstop. 'Can I make reservation?' We're not doing reservation because we only have six tables," said Katz.

As southeastern Pennsylvania moved into the yellow phase of the state's COVID-19 reopening plan, the stay-at-home order was lifted and many retailers were allowed to reopen. Restaurants are only permitted to serve outdoors.

The Check family of Maple Glen was among the first to be seated.

"We really like the food here and it feels really good to eat food again," said Simon Check.

Among the Grille's specialities: fruity pebble encrusted French toast.

Katz says they are taking tremendous precautions to keep customers safe. Masks, gloves and daily temperature checks are required of all staff. The restaurant is using disposable cups and utensils as well.

"We have to try to be as safe as possible, said customer Bruce Hall, Cheltenham. "If these are the rules and this is the way things have to be now that's what we have to do. "

Outdoor dining is not currently permitted in Philadelphia.
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