by: Philippe Djegal

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SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Dine-in service is now allowed at Solano County restaurants, but with some changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes after the state Department of Public Health approved the county’s request to move further into Phase 2 of reopening the community.​

In Fairfield, some restaurant owners tell KRON4 they are hopeful customers feel comfortable enough to return.

At Fairfield’s Jalapenos Restaurant the food hasn’t changed but the dine-in experience has. 

“They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing, so we can come and eat here,” customer Hector Sagastunes said. 

Now that owner Gresta Hurtado is back to serving seating customers, she’s taking precautions to ensure social distancing. 

Capacity has been cut in half, every other table is off limits, employees are regularly sanitizing menus and tables and all of them are wearing face coverings.​

“When we have so many customers inside the restaurant, the rules, the customer has to wait in the car,” Hurtado explains. “We’ll give it to you. Take the order outside.”​

Restaurant owners and managers know that some customers may be slow to return and may not feel comfortable enough for dine-in services.

But they’re confident that eventually down the road, they will come back.​

​”These people are in desperate need of our help,” Sagastunes said. “You know, if we don’t start coming to these places, they’re most likely going to go out of business.”​

Patrick Augustine feels the same way.​ He manages Amar Indian Cuisine and Banquet in Fairfield. 

His dining area is back open with modifications. The tables have been rearranged so they are six feet apart.​

“There’ll be some changes, as in that the customers won’t be able to handle the buffet directly. We’ll have a staff member who will actually be serving the food from the buffet to the customers. Other than that, it’ll be open as normal,” Augustine said. 

For Augustine, the new health order could not have gone into effect fast enough.​

He’s expecting higher profits now that dine-in is open. 

He says take-out and delivery was better than nothing the past two months but adds business was slow.​

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