ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With the move from Red Level to Yellow Level, indoor dining is opening up in more New Mexico counties, including Bernalillo. Most counties in New Mexico have not been able to have indoor dining since before Thanksgiving. Restaurants are welcoming people back inside for the first time in months. “You are our first official welcome table back in,” M’Tucci’s 25 General Manager Ernest Nunez said to a table Wednesday night.
People enjoyed dinner and drinks inside the Albuquerque Italian restaurant. “This is just so much better,” diner Samantha Garni said. “It is so more relaxing. It is way more enjoyable. It is so nice.”
Nunez said they anticipated the governor’s announcement, bringing back staff and stocking up on food. “Here we go again,” Nunez said. “Let’s do this.” Nunez said phones have been ringing off the hook all day since the news broke. “This is the biggest weekend of the year in the industry,” Nunez said. “It is good timing.”
Annamarie Kapnison at Nick and Jimmy’s said the same thing ahead of what they already anticipated to be a busy Valentine’s weekend. “The governor came on, and maybe 60 seconds or a minute and a half later, our phones started blowing up like crazy,” Kapnison said. “Everyone asked if we were open and to make a reservation, so that was pretty exciting.”
Nunez said M’Tucci’s will keep their outdoor dining options open, keeping in the back of his mind the possibility of moving back into the red level, come the next two-week update. “There is always a concern with that,” Nunez said. “We hope everyone does their part, makes good decisions, and is aware of what is going on around them.”
While M’Tucci’s and Nick & Jimmy’s are reopening indoors this week, places like Garcia’s kitchen said it will be a struggle to reopen. Garcia’s said they are trying to hire up to 50 more people and hope to get doors open by Monday. M’Tucci’s said they are looking to hire 15 to 20 more people.
Indoor dining at the Yellow Level is capped at 25% capacity.