Restaurants ready for increase to 50 percent indoor capacity

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Restaurants are preparing to open to more customers starting Monday.

Customers dine at Back Beach Barbecue.

Do they expect a rush through the doors or more ringing of the cash registers?

"If they're going to come and order food, they're going to come regardless of how much seating we have," Finns Island Style Grub manager Daunovan Duncan said.

Including zero.

"We had all our tables out here flipped over," Duncan continued. "People were coming and ordering and sitting on the ground and we had to kick them out for that. It was crazy."

Starting Monday, restaurants can seat at 50 percent capacity indoors. Normalcy is coming into focus.

"I was super happy when I got to ask 'for here or to go," Back Beach Barbecue pitmaster and general manager Shane Kirkland said. "That was a huge deal for us."

Is 50 percent a big deal compared to 25 percent? That depends.

"I think it's going to average out between take out," Kirkland said. "Now they're probably just going to come in."

Cleanliness remains a priority.

"We keep an extra man on staff, spraying tables," Duncan added. "We never used to wear gloves when dealing with the money at the window. Now you wear gloves and wash your hands between orders."

Expect changes to the layout, like fewer blocked off tables.

"The hotter it gets, the more people want to eat inside," Kirkland said. "Definitely like to see these booths fill up a lot more."

Back Beach Barbecue is opening at normal hours beginning Monday.

Maybe you also see a difference in how you savor your meal and your experience.

"Before it was just, here's your food, have a good day," Kirkland explained. "Now you can go around, see if they enjoyed everything. If they didn't we can make it better for them. That's what I got in the business for, was for people to like my food. Instead of having to just read about it online, I can actually have that person to person contact."

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