By Annie Rigby
Loris restaurants re ceived the news they had hoped would come. Gov. Henry McMaster announced and outlined the Phase Two of his plan to reopen restaurants for indoor dining. On Monday, May 11, at 12:01 a.m. the executive order was lifted allowing indoor dining.
The mom and pop restaurants, Backyard Barbeque, Santino’s and Back Street Café, assured patrons they are following the suggested guidelines and are ready for guests to visit their establishments to indoor dining. The Grind continues serving customers with to-go orders. At this time they do not have an exact date when they will reopen their dining room. It is small and would be difficult for social distancing. It isn’t feasible to open for indoor dining at this time, however they have picnic tables with an umbrella for patrons to relax while eating. At Shorty’s, Betty Connor said, “As of now there are too many regulations, we will continue to stay with the take-out only a few more days until we are able to prepare the restaurant and train the employees for the new guidelines.” Shorty’s Grill has announced on Facebook that the meat shortage is affecting their menu items. Watch their Facebook pages for updates.
At press Ernie’s Hometown Café had not responded to the request for information as to when they plan to reopen.
Restaurants were limited to take-out orders only on Tuesday, March 17; the executive order was lifted on Monday, May 4, when restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor dining and take-out orders with social distancing guidelines followed. A week later on Monday, May 11, restaurants were permitted to open for indoor dining. McMaster announced the Phase Two plan to reopen restaurants allowing indoor dining with guidelines and social distancing when seating patrons. The guidelines for restaurants opening for indoor dining can be found at https://governor.sc.gov.
McMaster said the guidelines are helpful for restaurant owners to follow to give direction of keeping the public and employees safe from the COVID-19 disease. He said, “It means that the restriction has been lifted. But every restaurant owner or every manager will have to make decisions based on their customers, their clientele, their staff, the safety of their staff, the people working, the people visiting. They’ll have to make their own decisions based on their experience in their restaurant in the past.” He stated that restaurants will have rules to follow if they choose to reopen.
Tables must be spaced at least six to eight feet apart and the restaurants cannot operate beyond 50 percent of its legal capacity as determined by fire marshals. Recommendations for health checks and social distancing protocol for employees will also be issued. State officials ask that restaurants consider offering hand sanitizer to customers and remove condiments from tables, only providing them upon request. However, none of these safety measures are required; McMaster said that these are recommendations based on the presumption and the hope that people will follow the recommendations. He said, “Phase 3” could mean allowing establishments to reach 100 percent capacity, he added, depending on the rate of compliance observed and incoming data.
A meat shortage has affected many restaurants, grocery stores and residents in Loris. Cameron Dozier with Carolina Food Distribution (CFD) has stated they have frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts by the case of 40 pounds for $57.45. He stated that hamburger is expensive at this time and a case of four 10 pound tubes is $45.95. Dozier said, “We are short on four, spam, Vienna sausage and a few other items, but hopefully we will be able to increase our supply in the weeks to come.”
CFD is working with Horry County Council on Aging to supply a care package of food and cleaning supplies to their 800 clients. Jill Shelley stated the council has 10 senior activity centers in Horry County that they provide assistance. They have a list of senior clientele who benefit from the services; the closest one to Loris is Hope Arbor on Heritage Road. Other than the clientele they serve they provide a warm lunch for seniors at the 10 locations five days a week.
The Horry County Council on Aging is a nonprofit organization and depends upon donations to help service the seniors of Horry County. To donate their mailing address is 1714 Mill Pond Road, Conway, S.C .29526.