PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — This time last year, the governor had issued a stay-at-home advisory putting restaurant dining at a standstill.
Sunday was a much different scenario with people eating outside like at Diego’s East Side. The general manager said this Easter is night and day to 2020.
“Easter weekend has always been like nice and busy,” Diego’s GM Alyssa Venuti said.
“Great to see everybody back on track and getting more social,” Agil Nadirov said.
Agil Nadirov, owner of The River Social, said the spring holiday has him extra hopeful for the future, but said last year was very different.
“We were closed, like tragic. No one had a hope last year,” he said.
Rhode Island restaurants can now seat tables six feet apart rather than eight feet, at 75 percent capacity.
Diego’s East Side in Providence opened mid-pandemic in December. General Manager Alyssa Venuti said they decided to keep tables eight to ten feet apart.
“We’re comfortable keeping ourselves at 50 percent capacity, just for safety. We have to think about our neighbors again, our staff, ourselves and our families.
The River Social had over a dozen brunch reservations on Sunday with expanded seating capacity.
Nadirov said 2020 was challenging for the restaurant industry, but the recent easing of restrictions is showing him the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I see people are getting more social and getting together now and a lot of families I see now in downtown is getting much busier and that’s great and that gives a lot of success to all restaurants,” he said.
This Easter was projected to be the highest spending Easter on record for food sales. Business owners said the warmer weather and vaccine rollout are giving them a much needed boost.