Rey Vasquez, franchise owner of Golden Corral, was happy to bring his Yuma team back to work and serving the community on Monday.

However, the restaurant, located at 590 E. 16th St., came back with a few changes in place. The restaurant changed from buffet to cafeteria-style with a limited menu, and with employees serving customers, but it’s still all-you-can-eat. The cafeteria-style service eliminates the need for guests to touch serving utensils.

Vasquez pointed out that Golden Corral will continue to reinforce “rigorous cleanliness standards for guest touchpoints, perform employee temperature checks, and incorporate additional hand-sanitizing stations.” In addition, all team members will wear masks while working.

As an added measure, during every shift, four workers are solely dedicated to sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces in the restaurant. 

Also, new social distancing procedures, including a 50% capacity limit, floor markers, table spacing and drink delivery, are in place. 

“The health and well-being of our co-workers, guests and community is always our top priority,” Vasquez said. “We are confident that our guests will enjoy a Golden Corral experience with an even higher level of personal service.”

Lutes Casino, 221 S. Main St., also opened on Monday after announcing that it had taken “the necessary precautions to maintain a safe environment” for customers, but it also continued to offer curbside pickup for those who prefer it.

The restaurant is practicing social distancing and following the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and Arizona Department of Health Services sanitization protocols. Lutes Casino explained on social media: “We have polished the floors, painted the walls and sanitized the interior, and removed tables and chairs to allow social distancing (from 180 seats to 90). Our staff has been trained in sanitization protocol and will be ready to serve you with your health and safety in mind.” 

Other restaurants, such as Brownie’s Cafe and Penny’s Diner, also opened their doors on Monday. Brownie’s Cafe, 1145 South 4th Ave., said that it is following guidelines as set forth by the CDC and ADHS. 

An employee of Penny’s Diner, 1731 S. Sunridge Drive, noted that the diner is practicing social distancing with half the seats open and servers wearing masks and gloves.

SOME RESTAURANTS CHOOSE TO STAY CLOSED

Although Gov. Doug Ducey gave restaurants the go-ahead, allowing them to open dine-in areas, some local restaurants have chosen to stay closed.

La Fonda Mexican Food and Tortilla Factory, 1095 S. 3rd Ave., explained that “after much thought and discussion,” owner (Connie) Ramos  decided to hold off on reopening for dine-in for one month “for the protection of her employees as well as for the public that would come into the restaurant.”

Ramos wants to be better prepared to serve the public with a new dining table setup, staff training and “an adequate supply of hand sanitizer,” among other things.

“There will be changes when we do reopen, and we hope that our customers will graciously be patient with us as we work out the kinks,” the restaurant stated.

In the meantime, La Fonda continues to offer curbside pickup and delivery.

North End Coffeehouse, 202 S. 1st Ave., Suite 203, also chose to postpone its reopening “while we develop the best and safest way to take care of you and our team.”

“We are so thankful to all of our amazing customers for their continued support throughout these uncertain times, as well as grateful for your patience as we navigate this situation as best as we can,” North End posted online, adding that the coffee shop is also doing some renovations and is “excited” to show customers.

North End, as well, is offering walk-up and pickup service.

Baja Viches, 863 S. Avenue B, explained that the reason its dine-in area will remain closed is because the limitations set for restaurants don’t fit with the experience that it wants to provide customers.

Baja Viches was “created with the idea of bringing family and friends together by providing a peaceful ambiance where people could enjoy great food and disconnect from day-to-day troubles,” owners Stephanie and Juan Carlos said.

“It saddens us to say that the conditions/limitations in which restaurants are opening their doors for dine-in are not what we plan for the Baja experience. To us, the safety of our loved ones and our customers is priceless. Therefore, we will continue with our takeout option only until further notice. We only hope that tomorrow brings better days in which we are free to gather with our loved ones and enjoy a breezy afternoon Baja style,” they added.

CHILE PEPPER, MR. G’S TEMPORARILY CLOSE

In addition, another restaurant owner has temporarily closed its two locations after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. On Sunday, B&G Family Ltd. Partnership, announced on Facebook that it closed Chile Pepper, 1030 W. 24th St., and Mr. G’s Drive-In, 501 S. 4th Ave., after learning of the employee’s diagnosis.

The employee last worked on April 30 and is now quarantined at home. “The employee’s health status is being monitored,” said the Gutierrez Family, owners of B&G Family.

The company shut down all of its operations while the restaurants are “completely sanitized by a professional company specializing in restaurant sanitation.”

B&G added that it is working with the Yuma County Department of Health Services, following its guidance and regulations, as well as those from local, state and federal agencies, including the CDC and other health organizations “for the safety of our employees and customers.”

“Having been in business for 66 years, our family has been honored and blessed to have fed several generations of Yumans. As the safety and welfare of our employees and customers is of primary importance to us, we want to ensure when we resume operations both Chile Pepper and Mr. G’s are safe for our employees and customers,” the Gutierrez Family posted.

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