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Restaurants in Shelby County open at limited capacity for first time in nearly two months

Guidelines include: restaurants must be 50% capacity or less and tables must be at least six feet apart

SHELBY COUNTY, Tennessee —

Monday marked the first day people could sit inside a restaurant in Memphis and Shelby County since the coronavirus pandemic shut businesses down, but it looks a lot different now.

Drew Clayborne, manager of Flying Saucer, said the staff is excited to welcome back customers back as long as they are kept safe.

"We want to help people get back to a sense of normality, and I feel like people are really cooped up inside and want to get out and have some fun," Clayborne said.

The restaurant is taking safety seriously as it begins to allow people to dine-in. Some of those safety measures include all surfaces will be sanitized continuously, only paper menus will be used, all employees will be wearing masks and gloves, and bottles of hand sanitizer will be accessible for everyone throughout the restaurant.

Tables were taped off to designate how far people need to be seated away from one another. Clayborne said customers reacted positively to the changes and followed the rules of social distancing.

"They're happy to be here," Clayborne said. "People just want to get back to normal so people sitting down enjoying a beer and it’s basically what we thought it would be."

Clayborne said the turnout was smaller than expected but expects to have more people dine inside in the coming days.

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"It’s mostly regulars," Clayborne said. "It’s also, it’s so nice outside that a lot of the customers are just walk-in customers that didn’t actually know and tourists down here that didn’t know we were open today."

All employees will have their temperatures taken on a daily basis. The restaurant will continue with takeout food and drinks. 

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