Texas restaurants can operate at 75% capacity starting Friday
Starting Friday, Governor Greg Abbott is allowing Texas restaurants to expand capacity from 50% to 75%.
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que co-owner Chad Wootan is looking forward to serving more guests.
"We are very excited about it," said Wootan. "The change from 25 to 50 was very, very helpful. It helped us be able to get more people in. I think 75 will be great."
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the state, Wootan says they'll continue operating with caution.
"It’s a real virus so I want to keep everybody healthy, and our older folks don’t need to be exposed to this. We want to just do our part to keep people safe," said Wootan.
Brazos County Alternate Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan is reminding anyone going out to be hypervigilant.
"We have to assume that when we go out that we will be exposed to COVID-19," said Dr. Sullivan.
He says as more cases are reported, it's more important for everyone to continue practicing social distancing, hand-washing and wearing face masks.
"This is a great opportunity to hold one another accountable to what we should be doing and that is, I think, more important now than it has been and will become even more important as we are reporting more and more cases," said Dr. Sullivan.
Practicing these simple safety measures helps keep those around us safe and makes a difference in helping our community return to normalcy.
"That's what we need to do. Just play by the rules, do everything right and the payoff will finally come," said Wootan.
Wootan says to protect guests from the virus, they've installed plexiglass between the guests and the kitchen and implemented hand-sanitizing stations. At Cooper's, you'll notice a number of tables are closed off to promote social distancing, as well as tape on the ground reminding guests to stand six feet apart.
Cooper's has also moved its self-serve items, including its bread, onions, and pickles behind the counter. Wootan says guests can still get these items, all-you-can-eat, and drink refills if you ask an employee.
All staff members at Cooper's can be seen wearing gloves and masks and sanitizing surfaces every few minutes. Wootan also says someone comes in on a regular basis to fog the restaurant with food-grade sanitizer.
The next step in Gov. Abbott's Phase III plan to open Texas will allow amusement parks, and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 to open at 50% capacity.