NEW YORK - When restaurants in New York City finally reopen, diners will notice a lot of changes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Customers can expect facemasks, dividers between tables, and all sorts of other changes to make sure the eating experience is as safe as possible.
The Brooklyn Chop House in the Financial District is even going to wrap silverware and place settings in plastic wrap.
When they enter the dining room, patrons will go through an ultraviolet thermal body scanner.
"The ultraviolet kills anything that's on your clothing," owner Stratis Morfogen says.
The machine will take the guest's temperature and the restaurant plans to deny entry for anyone who reads 99.7 or higher.
Morfogen is also building a second restaurant that will be completely contact-free with the staff. In a throwback to the automat era, customers at the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop in the East Village will order via phone and pick up their food from an 11-foot tall wall of headed footlockers.
"Zero human interaction," Morfogen says.
"Before this pandemic, there were more than 25,000 eating and drinking establishments throughout the five boroughs employing more than 300,000 people," said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.
Rigie and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson are trying to reimagine how to use outdoor space for restaurants because indoor capacity will be greatly reduced to maintain social distancing.
"We could extend the sidewalks into part of the streets," Rigie said. "Other areas, we can close down whole streets. We also need to look at the existing pedestrian plazas, where restaurants could serve food to customers or customers could take their food and bring it to those chairs and sit down."
Whether those changes can or will be implemented is yet to be seen.