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‘Every effort’ to keep customers, staff safe

The new “safer-at-home” order took effect Monday with several local restaurants open for lunch. Although there were no long waits, the diners were happy to be dining out –“in” once again.

The Pig Café opened its doors during the lunch hour and owner Yanni Tempelis said the restaurant opened under the guidelines that are necessary to keep both the diners and the restaurant staff safe.

“We have moved the tables six feet apart and have marked the floor so there is no question about social distancing,” Tempelis said. “All of our employees will wear masks and gloves. All food will be served, cafeteria style.  No food will be touched by our diners, only our staff.”

Tea and water will be served by an employee with the exception of canned beverages which may be picked up by the diners.

“We are making every effort to ensure the safety of our employees and our customers,” Tempelis said. “We are proud to open our doors once again and are looking forward to serving our customers.”

Tempelis and his wife, Denise, also own Francesca’s Italian Restaurant in downtown Troy and it will open next week.

“The coronavirus is nowhere near over,” Tempelis said. “We will be living and working with it so we must do the best we can to keep everyone safe in all that we do,”

Maddie Hanson and Mary Thomas Jones were almost dancing in the parking lot of Monarcas Mexican Restaurant.

“At 9’oclock this morning, we were on the phone saying, ‘Let’s go eat Mexican,” Maddie said. “We got here at 11:03 a.m. We are so happy to be able to go out to a restaurant!”

Mary Thomas said practicing social distancing, using hand sanitizer and common sense are the best safety practices.

“Not touching door knobs is important,” she said with a laugh. “When Maddie and I went in Monarcas, we covered our hands with our shirts to open the door and pushed out with our elbows. The tables are six feet apart and the waiters were wearing masks and gloves. We felt safe and it was so good to go out again.”

The young women said they believe those who go to restaurants will practice social distancing and the other recommended ways to keep themselves and others safe.

Emma Wood was out to lunch with her daughter and son-in-law at the Pig Cafe but had no concerns about dining out even with the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise.

“We have faith so we are not concerned about being out,” Wood said. “People die every year from the flu and, too, I believe that media has blown this all out of proportion.  We need to do what we can to be safe but we don’t need to stop living.,

City of Troy employees John Griffin and Ozzie Roman were proud to have the opportunity to “buy lunch” once again at the Pig Café.They have no concerns about COVID-19 because they work outside.

“The virus can’t live out in the sun and we’re are out in the sun all the time,” Griffin said. “So, we should be all right.”