With restrictions eased, some restaurant owners planning to reopen, others holding off

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 2,903 views 

Bentonville-based Ropeswing Hospitality Group says it is making preparations to open up the majority of its restaurant dining rooms, including Pressroom, The Preacher’s Son, Louise, CO-OP, and BlakeSt, beginning Monday (May 11).

The Holler, situated inside the 8th Street Market, will remain closed but will continue to host the newly formed Bentonville Bodega and will begin offering curbside takeout on Monday. Ropeswing will also continue its meal subscription and takeout options.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced April 29 that restaurants could begin limited dine-in service on May 11. Among the restrictions are no groups over 10 people, daily staff screenings, staff must wear gloves and face masks and social distancing must be followed.

Only 33% of a restaurant’s occupancy will be allowed during the first phase of reopening. It is unclear when a second phase, with more patrons allowed, will begin.

A Ropeswing spokeswoman said the company is adding additional protocols for its restaurants. They include a clearly designated “safety crew member” who is responsible for monitoring and executing continuous sanitation and adherence to social distancing on each dining floor.

Each restaurant will also require guests to wear masks until food and drinks are served.

SOME STAYING CLOSED
While many restaurants are expected to reopen May 11, other business owners in the area are taking a different approach. Wright’s Barbecue owner Jordan Wright said his Johnson store will not reopen its dining room and outdoor seating areas Monday, and will stick with takeout and drive-through service for now.

“While we understand everyone would love some time in the ‘Yard’ hanging with friends and family, we have made the decision to not put our team in the position of rules enforcers,” Wright wrote in a social media post. “We want to welcome everyone and until we can do that without burden we will continue to operate to go and curbside.

“I hope that [Gov. Hutchinson] will consider providing updated guidance on all things restaurants soon.”

Allen Brumett, who owns two locations of Sassy’s Red House Bar & Grille in Fayetteville, said the business “needs a little more time,” and he will wait until May 18 to reopen those dining rooms.

“We will continue our takeout and delivery like we have been, and as it has been through this time these plans could change,” he wrote on social media. “Thanks for all the support and can’t wait to have everyone back at Sassy’s.”

Oven & Tap in downtown Bentonville is also opting to keep its dining room closed. Luke Wetzel and Mollie Mullis own that business.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to keep our dining room closed for your safety and ours,” they wrote in a social media post. “We will still be offering our takeaway menu Tuesday-Saturday 12-8 p.m.”

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