Boone County restaurants adjust to new order

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COLUMBIA – Tuesday marks the start of a new, less restrictive stage in the reopening plan for Boone County.

The main change to this phase is that occupancy limitations are removed for most businesses. 

However, there are still instances in which the social distancing standards still have to be required.

Buffets are still not allowed to be directly handled by the public but some restaurants allowed staff to retrieve the food for customers.

HuHot, Cici’s Pizza, and China Garden have altered the way they served their buffets by having the staff retrieve the food their customers want rather than having the customers grab the food themselves.

HuHot implemented a sushi-style menu where their customers can check what they want as apart of their meal. 

“They’ll fill it out and they’ll tell us exactly what they need what condiments they need, what food they need, and what sauces they need, ”HuHot general manager Devon Kruse said. “Then they’ll give it to the servers, we’ll give it to the bowl fillers, they’ll give it to the grill, and then the servers will come back and pick it up from the grill. So, it is easy, but it gets pretty hectic.”

India’s House would typically serve a buffet before the pandemic, but decided to close its buffet entirely with no current plans to reopen under the new guidelines. They are only doing takeout orders and aren’t allowing anyone in their dining room area.

“For some of the facilities even though occupancy restrictions are increasing we believe that social distancing is going to be a limiting factor and even more so than the occupancy restriction," said Scott Clardy, the Boone County Health and Senior Services assistant director.

Mass gatherings of more than 100 people are still not being permitted during this phase and because of the rise in cases the county is still monitoring adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Phase two, Step three will last until July 20.