Once beaches reopen, waterfront restaurants may have to contend with crowds

Business News

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) – With Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo saying she hopes to start reopening state beaches on or around Memorial Day weekend, nearby restaurants will have to figure out how to handle the potential crowds.

While beach-goers will be met with capacity limits at the coastline, similar measures will be in place wherever they decide to grab a bite to eat.

Waterfront restaurants like George’s of Galilee have had to adjust their ways of doing business during the pandemic.

“We’re preparing for a summer as if there wasn’t a virus,” owner Kevin Durfee said. “We’re preparing for a summer with a partial opening, and we’re preparing for a summer with the status quo of curbside.”

Whether it’s offering curbside pickup or a meal from the popular takeout window, Durfee said the restaurant has a responsibility.

“Provide people with a little slice of happiness, which is so important for people’s mental health,” he explained.

Patrons like the McClanaghan family say they’re more than ready to return to normal and for restaurants to reopen.

“It would be nice to get out of this quarantine, get out of my house and get out of eating out of my trunk,” Rob McClanaghan said.

For George’s of Galilee, operating with pandemic business practices as the beaches reopen will mean more beach-goers at the takeout window and more customers ordering curbside pickup. For these reasons, Durfee said he his staff are looking for ways to keep serving up that slice of happiness while maintaining social distancing.

Durfee said he’s prepared to take all of the steps toward reopening slowly, while making sure it’s being done properly and as safely as possible.

He also said the restaurant has found new ways to connect with the community like bartenders giving cocktail lessons on Instagram, which will likely continue even after the pandemic subsides.

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