Nob Hill restaurants prepare to close indoor dine-in services

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Changes to the public health order go into effect July 13 as coronavirus cases continue to rise, which means restaurants and breweries will have to close their indoor dining rooms and will allow outdoor seating at half capacity.

Two restaurants in Nob Hill are expecting a big hit to business, but they are ready to offer outdoor dining on their patios. But the owner of Flying Star Cafe said it’s frustrating as restaurants try to stay afloat. 

“This just took us down again, so we went down to almost nothing, up a tiny bit and now we might be down to nothing again,” said Jean Bernstein, the owner of Flying Star Care. “It depends on if our customers are willing to come.”

Bernstein said it’s been expensive and time-consuming to put in the proper safety measures up to this point. Just a couple blocks away from Flying Star Care is El Cotorro, where the manager said she’s worried the new order will scare their customers away.  

“We have delivery, we have takeout, we have curbside available,” said Dian Arnold, the manager at El Cotorro. “But I think it’s going to impact a lot because it’s hot outside and not a lot of people are going to want to sit outside.”

Both restaurants said they will comply and have outdoor seating available. Meanwhile, customers KRQE News 13 spoke with said they will continue to support local businesses that continue to struggle during the pandemic.

“I will miss it, but I think it’s a good call to have the governor say that we need to have outdoor seating for now, so we can still enjoy what we have,” said Kari Anna Briscoe. Restaurants and breweries are allowed outdoor seating at half capacity, as well as take-out, and delivery.

If restaurants do not comply with the public health order starting July 13, they could face a fine of $5,000 per day. Under the new health order, people will also be required to wear masks in public at all times, including when they exercise. The fine for not complying is $100.

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