Albuquerque restaurant owners unsure of future as indoor dining restrictions set to expire this week

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state’s current public health order is set to expire this week. Many restaurant owners are wondering what’s next and some don’t expect to be allowed to serve customers indoors again.

Scalo Restaurant has been a household name in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill, and the owners were looking forward to a successful re-opening. However, their grand opening, last month, wasn’t as successful as they had hoped and they don’t think it’s going to get any better anytime soon.

“It was so popular. We had a real successful crowd come in. We were able to space people appropriately,” says Kristie Sawant, owner of Scalo.

As soon as their doors opened, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham banned indoor dining, once again. “We understand her guidance. We understand her directives. We understand why she’s making these decisions, and we’re doing our best,” says Sawant.

Kristie and her husband, Prashant Sawant, say they have been operating at a 50% capacity ever since, and have done their best to utilize their patio space. “When we went to just the patio, we had to let some of our staff go. That was hard. That was really hard,” she says.

As the current health order is set to expire this week, it leaves the Sawants with little hope they’ll be able to open their dining room anytime soon. “I don’t feel she’s going to allow us to do indoor dining later on this week. I just don’t feel the numbers are dictating that,” says Sawant.

Just last week, the governor reiterated how indoor dining contributes to the surge of confirmed cases. “Why are restaurants the biggest risk? Because you can’t wear a mask while you’re eating,” said the governor on July 23.

However, the Sawants say they are more than ready to give their customers the dine-in experience they deserve. “We will be ready as soon as the order is given,” says Prashant.

The Sawants say they are considering spending extra money to expand their patio if the governor continues to restrict indoor dining. KRQE News 13 asked the governor’s office if the restrictions on dine-in services will be extended this week, but we did not get a response.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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