ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For the first time in more than a month, New Mexicans are allowed to eat inside their favorite restaurants again. Restaurants, breweries, and cafes are among the businesses that can now reopen their dining rooms and welcome more patio diners. Just 25% of a restaurant’s maximum capacity is allowed for dine-in, but owners and customers KRQE News 13 talked to are glad to have the new option.
Customers are getting a warm welcome back as restaurants get the green light from the governor to open their dining rooms. “It feels good to be back in a regular atmosphere,” said Kevin Wharton who was dining in at Church Street Cafe in Old Town. “So it’s great to be here at this restaurant today together as a family and being able to dine out together.”
It’s good news for the restaurant owners who are serving them, like Marie Coleman who owns Church Street Cafe. “I feel great, I’ll take anything I can get at this point,” said Coleman. “It’s wonderful just to be able to see people inside and give them the option to get them out of the hot weather.”
Restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, cafes, and coffee shops can all have indoor dining services at 25% capacity. The governor’s new order also expands outdoor dining to 75% capacity.
Rory Veronda, who owns Empire Board Game Library in Nob Hill, said he had customers waiting outside before they even opened earlier Saturday morning. However, he won’t serve food just yet, to avoid the same problems he had the last time they shut down indoor dining. “The last time we opened, I was only able to open for a week and I brought in all of our food menus and pretty much got closed down right away,” said Veronda.
Both Veronda and Coleman said they appreciate the community’s support. “Thank you Albuquerque,” said Coleman. “I’m sure we’ll get through this.”
Under the health order no more than six people can be at a table and no bar or counter seating is allowed. Bars that don’t make a majority of their money from food will stay closed.