Eateries in Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama are in two minds whether to open for dine-in on Friday when COVID-19 restrictions ease.
With some in the community saying it is too soon to venture out for a meal and others eager to return to some normality, restaurants and cafes are mixed about whether to proceed and open their doors.
Maria Laws at Relish on Addison in Shellharbour Village said the decision is still being made.
"We are not sure what we are doing yet," she said.
"There is a lot involved for us to reopen for just 10 people at a time. We are different to a small café that only seats a few people and guests are turned over quickly. We would need to arrange the restaurant differently, have set sitting times and a different menu".
Ms Laws said the other things eateries have to consider is whether it will cost them more than they make to open for only 10 people.
Relish is still doing takeaway and some deliveries which come with cocktails for those who want them.
"Last weekend was really good for Mother's Day. Lunches are not as busy but maybe when people are able sit in the parks again they might get lunch to take away," she said.
In Wollongong the Good Times Only Group is preparing to open one of its three venues. Ben Abraham said Dagwoodwill have a capacity for 10 people to dine-in but Howlin' Wolf Bar and Births and Deaths are not permitted to reopen yet.
"Dagwood has a restaurant license and is food focused so can open on Friday," Mr Abraham said.
"We are running 90 minute sittings and are heavily encouraging bookings. We suspect there won't be room for walk-ins.
"As soon as people get up from their alloted 90 minutes we will run our sanitation procedure over the area before the next 10 people come in.
"We are offering lunch and dinner so will be open from Midday to Midnight and will be pushing late night dining very hard so more people get an opportunity to dine out.
"We are hoping to get in as many people as we can with the focus on dining. It will mean a few extra hours for our staff. We managed to retain 14 people on JobKeeper".
At Sea Swell Cafe in Warilla chef David Crowley will be opening for indoor dining with two tables spaced well apart with two chairs each. It will be the same for the outdoor eating area which means the cafe can cater for eight customers to eat in at a time.
"We are still going to use paper menus and we will be using normal cutlery and plates," Mr Crowley said.
"Our dishwasher sterilisation temperature is at 83 degrees which is the recommended temperature. So everything is washed by dishwasher and not by hand.
"After a customer leaves we spray sanitiser and clean seats and tables. Customers will be encouraged to take their menu home and new menus will go onto tables before the next seating".
Jim Eddy said Steamers Restauranthas worked very hard building a quality team over the last three years and decided to maintain its workforce during the lockdown.
Mr Eddy thinks it will be many months until things return to normal but takeaway at Steamers has kept the team engaged and generated more revenue than he anticipated.
"We will be opening for 10 people on Friday and hopefully doing about three settings," he said.
"We are open for bookings now and the early demand seems to be strong".
Mr Eddy said it was disappointing that larger eateries such as Steamers, which has a seating capacity of 300, are not able to open to more diners.
"We can maintain adequate social distancing with a lot more than 10 people," he said.
"But we are happy to be doing something and getting our team working together".
"We will be working within the governments 'Step 1' guidelines where 10 patrons will be able to dine in at any one time," Mr Harrison said.
"This is great news for business in general but it's also great for our locals who will be able to get back to their old routines and go to their favorite establishments for a meal. It is the first step into getting our society back to some normality".
"Catering for only 10 guests at any one time in a venue that holds up to 500 people is a dream come true for our chefs. They will be more interactive with the customers".
Lachlan and Selena Stevens said His Boy Elroyin Wollongong will be open for dine-in on Friday.
Take-away and delivery services will still available at both the Wollongong and Shellharbour stores.
"We will be operating strictly in-line with Federal and State Government restrictions, with only 10 patrons allowed to dine-in at any given point," Mrs Stevens said.
"We will continue our stringent hygiene standards including the wiping down and sanitising of all tables, benches and menus between each customer and spacing customers throughout the store to continue maintaining the required social distancing lengths and square metre density.
"We have also invested in single-use cutlery and will continue the display of hand sanitizer at each table where customers are seated.
"We are looking forward to talking face-to-face with customers again. Safely of course".
Luke Basic at Silica Restaurantin said the Kiama eatery is still finalising plans.
"At this stage we will be re-opening the restaurant with revised hours and set menu options only," he said.
"Our takeaway and 'Silica at Home" menus will still run for the time-being.
"It seems to be the new norm to adapt on the run and we are looking forward to sharing our customers special occasions with them again".
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