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Anchorage restaurants can expand seating capacity Monday

Published: Jan. 31, 2021 at 7:56 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -Judy’s Cafe has been closed in South Anchorage since December 1st when restaurants could only offer to go orders. it did not reopen New Year’s Day with 25% because its owner says it did not make sense financially. That changes Monday morning when capacity doubles.

“Will they come is my biggest thing you know,” said Lisa Bianco. “Yes I’m reopening. But I also need the customers to come to make it work.”

More customers will be allowed under Emergency Order-18 imposed by Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson.

“Probably 95% of the restaurants in town won’t be able to increase their seating at all,” predicted Matt Tomter, owner of the Matanuska Brewing Company. “In order for us to increase seating at the restaurant, we need to — the tables need to be pushed closer together.”

That won’t happen. Quinn-Davidson’s order requires tables to be 10 feet apart to ensure social distancing.

“Which was really meant to protect that six-foot buffer between patrons,” said Quinn-Davidson. “So if you have a patron that is sitting at the edge of the table, that is six feet away from another table, with another patron, they’re going to be closer than six feet.”

“With tables 10 feet apart, we don’t gain one new seat,” Tomter said.

He wants to add more seats, but, does not know where to put them and comply with the new emergency order.

Emergency Order-18 also extends alcohol sales for businesses from 11 p.m. to midnight. Also, more organized sports can take place with limitations. The new order comes as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline in the city.

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