Ricky Ray, general manager of Kobito Poke

Ricky Ray, general manager of Kobito Poke, gets ready for customers to start dining in again.

On May 11, many around Peoria for the first time in two  months heard this:

“Please follow me to your table.”

Gov. Doug Ducey banned eating in restaurants in mid-March, though takeout and delivery was permitted. Last week,  a  few days before his May 12 announcement  that his stay-at-home order would end May  15, Ducey announced people could begin eating in restaurants again May 11. 

Peoria Artisan Brewery could hardly tap its excitement, as seen in a recent Facebook post:

“We have put in place controls per the guidance of the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Arizona Restaurant Association, the state of Arizona and the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. ... We are ready, we are responsible and we are united in opening.”

Many restaurants, like Urban Margarita in north Glendale, are modifying dining rooms to provide 6 feet of separation between tables.

Kobito Poke restaurants, including the Peoria location, “will reopen dining rooms with heightened cleaning protocols and additional enhancements in place to ensure the safety and health of both guests and staff,” according to a press release.

Though protective gear is not required for reopening, Kobito Poke’s staff members will wear masks and gloves—a new look for many restaurants around Peoria. 

Like Urban Margarita and other restaurants, Kobito Poke will change its dining rooms for the CDC guideline of 6 feet of social distancing.

At Abuelo’s, occupancy will be capped at 50%, with no parties larger than 10 people. 

Abuelo’s employees also will wear masks and participate in temperature checks at the beginning of each shift.

Menus at Abuelo’s will have codes that can be scanned for viewing on phones, to avoid multiple people touching the menus. For those who prefer, Abuelo’s will provide paper menus. 

Not all of Peoria was ready to eat out, just yet.

Sharply differing opinions on the subject were illustrated by a May 11 Peoria Times Facebook poll, which asked if restaurants and retail shops reopening for in-person service is: “about right;” “too early;” or “not enough — open up everything.” 

Reactions varied widely. Pamela Gautier of Peoria went with the “too early” vote. “Considering Arizona has not met even the minimum White House guideline of a two-week decline in new Covid cases, it is still too early to open up,” she said.

Megan Haroldson cast a vote for “open up everything,” noting she “already enjoyed breakfast out and a haircut.”

 Laura Behm Walin went for the “about right” option — though she stressed “with appropriate precautions.”