ABQ restaurants make changes, react to coronavirus health order

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Restaurants, breweries, and bars now have new rules amid coronavirus concerns. The state’s health secretary is ordering they operate at no greater than half capacity starting Monday.

Flying Star Cafe owner Jean Bernstein said all of her locations throughout Albuquerque have taken a hit the last few weeks because of coronavirus concerns. She’s preparing for that to continue following the state’s announcement today limiting restaurants and bars to operate at half capacity.

“We will make sure that whatever the government wants us to do, we will do,” said Bernstein. And she’s not alone, the owners of local favorite Garcia’s told us they’re having discussions about their future and Rude Boy Cookies near UNM is considering shortening hours.

“Few less people coming in, not as much traffic in the shop,” said Michael Silva, the owner of Rude Boy Cookies. Silva said he’s getting creative to bring in more people, currently promoting their walk-up window to ensure customers feel more comfortable at their business.

“Swing by, get their order without even going in the shop if that’s concern with them if they want to be mindful of social distancing,” said Silva. As owners continue to think of new ways to bring in business, they are still focused on providing a clean and safe environment for their customers. 

The New Mexico Restaurant Association said businesses have already reported losing half their customer base in the past week and even expect some to go out of business. “Many restaurants just don’t have the runway or enough money to keep them afloat for more than a few weeks,” said Carol Wight with the NMRA. But they maintain that restaurants are taking extra measures to stay clean like using one-time paper menus and removing condiments from tables.

The order also said tables and booths can’t seat more than six people and all tables and booths have to be separated by at least six feet. People can also not be seated at bars and standing patrons will not be served. The public health order prohibiting gatherings of more than 100 people does not include shelters, retail or grocery stores, courthouses, corrections and detention facilities, and hospitals.

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