The first day of dine-in returning to Wollongong and Shellharbour eateries went smoothly on Friday.
Lachlan Stevens at His Boy Elroy said Friday night was the true test for them as larger numbers of people started coming out.
"But the way we have structured it has been pretty smooth," Mr Stevens said.
:"We are doing hour time slots of 10 per hour on the hour and we have been 95 per cent full the whole time.So there hasn't been many opportunities for people to just walk up and get a seat. But it has been manageable.
"We are all booked out Saturday but from Sunday onwards we are still taking bookings.
"It has been a little surreal watching people dining in again. But it felt really good to have a little bit more normality in our lives".
Mr Stevens said they haven't advertised dine-in at all at Shellharbour because they can't offer the same unique small bar experience as Wollongong.
But people have still been wanting to sit and dine there.
They won't take booking for it but His Boy Elroy will allow people to continue doing that at the former Addy's site in Shellharbour Village.
Barbora Sterbova, of Moomin and Uncle Bok's, said she and Arron Choi were almost overwhelmed by the number of people wanting to book before the doors opened at 5pm on Friday.
"It was very hectic leading up to the first diners arriving," Ms Sterbova said.
"We are fully booked out Saturday and close to fully booked out Sunday. We are open from 12 noon to 10pm each day.
"Everyone is so happy to be able to come back out and they are super happy for us as well. It is awesome.
"Opening up two venues has been a massive task.but we got it all done".
Andrew Harrison said he enjoyed different experiences at the Lagoon Seafood Restaurant to Bourke St Burgers.
"I am more than happy with how today has gone. There has been a great response to the doors opening. Probably better than what I expected," he said.
"There were a lot of familiar faces. Everyone is so happy to be coming out and getting back into some normality.
"They are all pre-booking. We are doing 90 minute sittings at the Lagoon and every one has been full. Saturday night is all booked out. We are going to open some new time slots. We do have some spots for Saturday lunch".
Bourke St Burgers doesn't take bookings so it was all walk ins.
"We had a lot of people coming in and out throughout the day and they were very mindful. When they saw that 10 people were sitting they were happy to get takeaway or go for a walk and come back," Mr Harrison said.
"Many were comfortable to take food and sit in the part or near the beach, where before they were worried they were going to get in trouble.
"It was not as hard as I thought to police the 10 person sitting rule. I am now looking forward to when we can seat more.
"Obviously 10 is not sustainable. It is a good start but it is not ideal. But I am not complaining. I am really happy to have opened. It feels better.
"Whether we are making money or not is irrelevant right now. It feels like we are getting back to normal".
At McDonalds Warilla and Warrawong the Dwarte family said drive-thru was still really busy but when people saw there weren't too many people for them to be able to dine-in they did.
"It will probably take time for people to get used to coming back inside," Glenn Dwarte said.
"Some are coming to the counter to order takeaway and then realising they can sit down so they do if there are not more than 10 people already doing it..
"We have two crew members in each store dedicated to just wiping down tables. We have sanitiser stations as well".
Lube Markovski described Friday as an amazing day full of smiles at Grill'd Wollongong.
"It was fantastic," he said.
"The look on peoples faces when they realised they could actually come in sit down and enjoy a meal and feel normal was priceless.
"It was like they were experiencing something they have not experienced for a long time. And that is exactly what they were doing.
"It has been a great experience for all of us. I worked over lunch and had a ball. And then came back to work over dinner.
"It is so nice talking to people about how they are coping. They really love the fact that they can come in, sit down at a table and eat a meal.
"Friday was absolutely brilliant. I just hope everybody does the right thing and nothing extreme happens so we can continue doing this". .
Mr Markovski said the eatery changed its whole operation for Friday to ensure everyone was safe..
"We have been really diligent with hygiene, social distancing and what we can put on a table. And we sanitise the seat, table, menu and everything when the each customer leaves".
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