ATLANTA, GA – As many are hoping to reopen businesses soon in many states, the New York Times reported on what “post-pandemic” dining out will be like at restaurants. Among the chefs commenting in the article was Greek chef Pano Karatassos, Founder, CEO, and corporate executive chef for the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group with upscale restaurants in Atlanta and South Florida.
“Gov. Brian Kemp, citing state health data showing that the state may have hit its peak of COVID-19 deaths on April 7, has given Georgia restaurants permission to begin table service on Monday [April 27], the Times reported on April 26, adding that “a handful will tiptoe back into business early in the week, but none with the robust enthusiasm of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, whose roster includes an upscale fish house, a French brasserie, and a fancy diner with $15 burgers.”
The Times article noted that “if all goes according to plan, five of its [Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s] seven restaurants plan to begin table service on Friday.”
Chef Pano Karatassos told the Times, “Everyone’s going to the grocery stores, and there are some grocery stores where nobody has any gloves on. We are going to have an experience in my mind that’s 10 times safer. What we’re doing is looking to move forward with the new way of dining.”
“But even before the first of the nation’s scattered restaurant openings in Georgia and Alaska got the green light, chefs and public health officials around the country began considering in some detail how a post-pandemic restaurant might look,” the Times reported, noting that “although many restaurateurs are still unsure if they will ever open their doors again, there are plenty, from fast-food operators to chefs at the most elite temples of haute cuisine, who spend their days strategizing how to get back to hosting diners.”
“Culinary and health organizations are drawing up guidelines and protocols for re-creating the American dining room as a safe space, even while acknowledging that could take many months or even longer to happen,” the Times reported.
Chef and restauranteur David Chang posted on Twitter for some ideas from restaurants in Asia which have reopened while enforcing social distancing and other measures post-pandemic. He posted, “Can @nytimes @washingtonpost and any other news organizations with corespondents in Asia compile a photo library of what it looks like to dine out in Asia. The safety protocols? Social distancing? We need images to help construct protocol here in America of what is working.”
Sofia Gunawan responded to Chang’s Twitter post, “I saw a photo of Starbucks in HK: seats are limited by placing masking tape, i.e. barring people from sitting closely. But there is also an arrest order for 4-ppl gatherings... “
Chang told the Times, “The most pragmatic thing we need to figure out right now is safety protocol. We are all asking for that, and no one really knows.”