Albany restauranter talks relaxed COVID-19 restrictions

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 5:58 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order rolling back some of the restrictions on restaurants and bars among other businesses. This executive order eliminates workers wearing masks as well as distancing requirements.

BJ Fletcher, owner of BJ’s Country Café, said the biggest change they’ve had during the pandemic was no longer being a buffet.

She said at one point, they were only able to allow 50 people in. Now that the restrictions are becoming more relaxed, they’re seeing some changes.

Owner BJ Fletcher
Owner BJ Fletcher(WALB)

“We’re already seeing faces we’ve not seen in 14,15 months. That tells us that they’re testing the waters,” said Fletcher.

Although the executive order eliminates masks for employees, employees at the restaurant are keeping theirs on.

“Right now, the governor says we can take them off, but we are gauging on how we feel our customers want it and how our staff wants it,” said Fletcher.

Now that they are expecting more crowds with future holidays, they are opening more rooms in the restaurant.

“I have another room that I’ll open up this weekend for the first time since covid because instead of me bringing tables out and people being really on top of each other were just opening up all the rooms,” said Fletcher.

The restaurant is no longer a buffet
The restaurant is no longer a buffet(WALB)
Employees now serve customers
Employees now serve customers(WALB)

She said the restrictions have been a challenge, but what most businesses are battling is finding and keeping staff.

“We’re battling checks. We’re battling free money. We’re battling the fact they can make more sitting at home. My message has been you could change your life forever. Right now, these checks are going to change your life for about 12 to 16 weeks,” said Fletcher.

Fletcher said she’s been blessed with her staff, but she knows many other businesses are struggling in finding and keeping staff.

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