Some South Carolina restaurants see increase in customers after opening outdoor patios

Updated: May. 4, 2020 at 11:18 PM EDT
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FORT MILL, S.C. (WBTV) - Seems many people in South Carolina wasted no time getting back out to restaurants on Monday, now that the “home or work” order is relaxed.

As you might imagine, business owners say they’re happy to have you back on their patios.

Those tired of being inside and eating home-cooked meals wanted fresh air and maybe some fries on the side.

“I’m just ready to get out of the house and be outside some,” said Emily Fulbright who was eating out at Carolina Ale House in Fort Mill.

“We’re excited to be back, and it is definitely a change to what we’re used to previously,” said Greg Gerrans the General Manager.

Part of the changes Gerrans made to safely reopen is making sure waiters and waitresses wear masks while working, menus are only used once then recycled after an order is placed, and tables are set 6-feet apart, which is mandated by the state.

Being flexible with changes to stay open is nothing new for Gerrans.

“We roll with a lot of challenges. We’re known for being open during hurricanes, we’re known for being open during different outages when most other restaurants close down ... snowstorms, ice storms,” he said.

All of the changes customers are seeing means a longer wait time to be served. Gerrans says these days, he’s taking safety and health over speed.

“We’re taking a little bit longer to seat you, a little bit longer to clean tables, a little bit slower on the preparation of the food," said Gerrans. "Everybody I’ve spoken to has been super about it. So understanding and so polite.”

Customers are also slowing things down to enjoy the luxury of eating a meal outside since it’s been a month, they’ve been able to do just that.

“Just value just being able to go out to eat, go to the mall, go to Walmart...we’re just going to enjoy it more,” added Fulbright.

Gerrans says the changes to how he’s running his restaurant might become permanent depending on how long this virus is an issue.

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