Midwest City adds new restrictions for restaurants, but doesn’t close dining areas

Coronavirus
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MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) - Midwest City has added amendments to their emergency declaration amid the COVID-19 pandemic by adding more restrictions on dining establishments.

As of noon Friday, bars that don't serve food must be closed. Bars that serve food can stay open, but with new restrictions.

Businesses that offer a dine-in option can only seat groups at every other table with a maximum of six people per table.

"We're following the CDC guidelines. We're following this constantly moving target of what's the best thing to do to keep our people safe," Debi Wagner, Midwest City Emergency Manager, said.

People KFOR spoke with have varying opinions of the restrictions.

"I'm okay with it, I really am. I think they're taking all of the precautions they can, so it's better for us," Veronica Urish said.

"I think it's overkill. If you're sitting back-to-back to somebody, you're close. But if you sneeze, it's obviously going to be to the person in front of you, and they're already with you, so they're probably at home with you regardless," Tyler Barnes said.

Some say they still like having the dine-in option available, but customers should be monitoring their own health.

"I think, you know, the nation knows we have a very devastating virus, and in order for you to get sick, you got to be sick. If you know you're not feeling well, if you know something is wrong, then stay home," Jerry Bowen said.

Even though cities like neighboring Oklahoma City have banned dine-in altogether, officials with Midwest City say they don't feel it's their place to do that.

"We're also trying to walk that balance line between making sure we keep all of our people safe and also making sure that our businesses are able to continue to do business," Wagner said.

Pelican's Restaurant is keeping their dine-in option. Owner Jim Dolezel says customers have been asking him to keep that option available.

"People kept calling us and asking, ‘Would you please stay open? And we’re older, and we don’t have any place to go, and we like to come here,’ and so okay, we’ll take care of you until the city says we cannot," he said.

He says the new adjustments will be no problem.

"That’ll be easy for us to do. And the thing is, because people are very concerned about it, the amount of people you have coming in is going to be 20 percent of what you’d have normally. So it’ll be easy to be able to seat people like that without any problem at all," Dolezel said.

He also says they're doing their best to be extra clean and still want to give their employees the chance to make money.

"Business is down because of the pandemic, so we have to make sure we clean things a lot thoroughly, even though that’s something you do normally anyway, but now we have to do that even more so," Dolezel said.

The restrictions are in effect until April 12.

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