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New Directed Health Measures ease restrictions on Omaha restaurants

Posted at 10:16 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 02:00:04-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Bars and restaurants can now operate at full capacity in Douglas County thanks to the new Directed Health Measure.

Phase 3 started Monday and while some restaurants have been eagerly waiting to operate at full capacity, some continue to stick with takeout.

It's a day many restaurants and bars have been looking forward to.

"We got through it. I think we're excited about what's to come, so today starts that," said Sarah Wees, manager of Local Beer, Patio and Kitchen. "It's just good to be able to kind of be back in action. Kind of get back to a little bit of normalcy. We're still taking all the safety measures and precautions to make sure that it's safe for everybody to get back to full capacity."

Wees said its been a tough few months.

"A lot of our staff, this is their full-time job and when we take away their income, it kind of puts us in a situation to where we were trying to figure out like, how, when, can we get back into the swing of things? Are we going to be able to supplement their income and how can we have them help out?" said Wees.

The new DHM requires people to be seated unless they're placing an order, using the restroom or playing games. Only up to 8 people are allowed to be seated together and food may now be served at the bar.

But not everyone is rushing to re-open their dining room.

"Every week it's one or two thousand [cases], up up up. I know it's really affected, a bad way, the economy. I am not saying it's easy but health first, health first," said Volkan Soyulmaz owner of Legacy Gyros.

Soyulmaz said he doesn't think much has changed since the virus hit, so he's not comfortable bringing customers back inside.

He's transitioned to takeout only and he's unsure when he'll open his doors again.

“Hey, I’m sorry, but how many high schoolers are working with me? They are my responsibility, okay, and my customers, too," said Soyulmaz.