Robin Kennedy has been a server at Manchester’s Shady Glen for 20 years. On Wednesday, she did something she hasn’t in months; wait on customers, indoors.
“It’s different for sure but it’s nice. It’s nice to see people come back out again,” said Kennedy.
Limited to 50% capacity, half the tables inside were off limits. Waitstaff wear masks at all times and when serving food, wear gloves. They also wear disposable gloves, which are discarded after handling money.
“I’ve missed it quite a bit actually. I love to go out to eat. It’s a nice treat once in a while,” said Charlene Woodcock.
Charlene made the trip from Colchester with her two sons who enjoy visiting one of Manchester’s most popular lunch spots.
“There’s nothing the same as like eating inside at a diner, plus this is one of my favorite restaurants. I love their fries,” said Cody Woodcock.
When outdoor dining was approved, Shady glen added an outdoor picnic area. While indoor dining was allowed today, those picnic tables outside remained popular even more so than the dining room.
Annette Hebert of Manchester said there were two reasons for eating outside, “taking it slowly and a gorgeous day.”
Today’s beautiful weather was a factor but not the only one. Some were still leery of dining inside.
“I’m still just hesitant I guess to eat inside or around people that I don’t know where they’ve been,” said Madison Marella of Vernon.
Her mother agreed.
“I think it’s safer to be outside. The little that we know about COVID-19. I just feel more comfortable right now,” said Janelle Marella of Ellington.
Outside or inside, Kennedy and other restaurant servers around the state are ready, even if it means getting used to some new attire.
“I’m used to smiling, greeting customers with a smile,” said Kennedy. “You can’t tell what you’re doing underneath these masks.
Other Businesses Opening Wednesday
Kelly Green owns Stable Studio Tattoos in Bolton. She, like many business owners, was able to open for the first time in months.
“It feels awesome,” she said. “It’s like getting on a bike. It’s the same thing as it was before really.”
Customers were ready to take advantage.
Sam Greene, who is no relation to Kelly, has been getting tattoos from her for years and says she has no safety concerns when it comes to COVID.
“I know that she knows how to keep people safe because that’s something she has to know how to do as a Tattoo artist,” said Greene.
Inside the studio, artists wear gloves and masks. Sanitizer and protective barriers are plentiful and appointments are required.
Tattoo studios aren’t the only place where customers were happy to return on Wednesday. At gyms and fitness centers around the state, parking lots were once again filling up, as people returned to their workout routines.
“It was good,” said Myles Hurley after finishing a workout at Manchester’s Planet Fitness. “I expected there to be a lot of people. It wasn’t too packed.”
Capacity limitations ensured that. Gyms cannot exceed 50%. Spaces between equipment must also be 12 feet. Those working out noticed a difference but were just happy to be back.
“A lot of machines were shut down and there were a lot of signs but as long as I can work out it was fun,” said Jake Pardi of Manchester.