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Collier County restaurant adapts to safety procedures ahead of reopening

As businesses plan to reopen, restaurants that offer features like as buffets and salad bars say they are having to really adapt to make sure customers and their staff are safe. Some businesses we spoke to even say opening up right now isn’t worth it.

Emily Monty, the owner of Spanky’s Speakeasy in Collier County, told us how she and her staff are changing their strategy now that they have the green light to reopen.

“They can do 25% capacity with the CDC’s recommended spacing,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis during his public announcement.

It was a welcome update for Monty and her restaurant.

“It just gave us hope that we can go forward,” Monty said.

But what about restaurants that have buffets or salad bars?

“People, for over 35 years now, have known Spanky’s for our salad bar,” Monty said.

More than a dozen restaurants with buffets or salad bars we reached out to either didn’t answer or told us they’re waiting another week or two before reopening.

But Monty says they have a solution at Spanky’s.

“The servers are going to give them a clean salad plate at the table,” Monty said. “And they’re going to give them a pair of gloves also. So the customers can put on the gloves. They can go to the salad bar once.”

And if customers want to make a second trip, they’ll get a new pair of gloves and a new plate. Servers will also get the soup and salad for people who don’t feel comfortable getting it themselves.

“They’re going to be wearing masks,” Monty said. “We have hand sanitizer everywhere. We’re going to be taking every precaution we can to keep everyone safe.”

And after decades in business, the owners say it’s a minor adjustment for the safety of everyone involved.

Monty said they’ve already been getting calls from people about making reservations for when they reopen. She told us that most of the people are asking to sit outside on the patio, where the tables have already been separated by at least six feet.

“We will do whatever we have to do to make our customers feel comfortable and welcome and safe,” Monty said.

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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