Fu­ture of din­ing will be a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence

South Western Times - - Coronaviru­s — Road To Recovery - Shan­non Ver­ha­gen

For the past two months, Bun­bury’s food scene has been a shadow of its for­mer self after cafes, restau­rants and pubs were forced to close or op­er­ate take-away only in the bat­tle against coron­avirus.

But with dine-in re­stric­tions be­ing lifted on Mon­day to al­low for 20 pa­trons at a time, many are get­ting ready to take the first step to­wards re­turn­ing to a sense of nor­malcy.

And busi­ness own­ers are plead­ing for pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing as they nav­i­gate the path ahead.

While look­ing for­ward to be­ing able to of­fer a dine-in ser­vice again, Cafez owner Bianca Fletcher said she was hes­i­tant to get too ex­cited un­til guide­lines for op­er­a­tion be­came clearer.

She said while busi­nesses had some facts to work with – like the pa­tron limit and hav­ing to keep a reg­is­ter of every­one that dines in for con­tact trac­ing pur­poses – the State Gov­ern­ment was yet to re­lease fur­ther guide­lines for op­er­a­tion, which she said could in­clude things like mark­ings on the floor, dis­pos­able menus or spit guards at the counter.

“If there are those sorts of el­e­ments in there, we’ll need to re­visit our cost­ings,” Mrs Fletcher said.

And once the mea­sures were in place, she said she was “very ner­vous” about man­ag­ing cus­tomer’s ex­pec­ta­tions and hoped peo­ple would re­alise they were do­ing their best.

“We may not be able to of­fer our full menu, we may not have a seat for you if we’re al­ready full,” Mrs Fletcher said.

“...I’m just re­ally hope­ful that pa­trons will be un­der­stand­ing that most of the venues they’ll be vis­it­ing are small busi­nesses and they may not have the ca­pac­ity that they’re ex­pect­ing in terms of what they can of­fer.

“Pro­vided we can of­fer a safe place for our pa­trons and our staff, we’re go­ing to give it a crack and all we can re­ally do is ask for peo­ple’s pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing while we fig­ure it out.”

Pic­ture: Shan­non Ver­ha­gen

Cafez owner Bianca Fletcher is ask­ing peo­ple to be un­der­stand­ing that the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence will be dif­fer­ent mov­ing for­ward.

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