LAS VEGAS (FOX5)-- Although Nevada allowed restaurants to reopen dining rooms to customers on May 10, numerous establishments face plenty of hurdles before they will open up dining.
Plenty of establishments welcomed customers back with much fanfare, social distancing requirements and mandated 50 percent capacity.
A number of establishments still offer only "carry out" or delivery, or have not opened back up at all. From new health district rules to enforcing social distancing, signage, staff training, supplies and designing new protocol, a number of owners say the "new normal" can be overwhelming.
It's a predicament that Mark Steele of the Restaurant Hospitality Institute and Jimmy Vigilante of Food Safety Specialists see across the Valley. The two have designed classes for RHI on new COVID-19 protocols, and have also donated their services and expertise to struggling restaurants.
"With Phase 1 happening so quickly, it's scrambling behind the scenes. They've been closed for 2 months," Steele said.
"With limited staff and limited hours, its a lot of stress and pressure on them. To reopen really fast and really quick is very tough," Vigilante said, who helps staff abide by health district protocol in the kitchen and food preparation.
Much of the work to sanitize the restaurant is what customers will not see: disinfecting menus, handling glassware and silverware differently, changing masks and gloves numerous times a day, and cleaning surfaces from phones, registers, doorknobs, chairs and rails.
Part of welcoming back customers, Steele and Vigilante said, is providing people the feeling of a safe environment.
"When the guests come in, and they see people sanitizing the tables correctly, it feels like its clean environment. It goes a long way," Vigilante said.