Regardless of how badly chef Dave Heide wants to open Lilliana’s Restaurant for dine-in, he’s holding back.
The reason for this, Heide told the Star, is because COVID-19 is still spreading. The illness is surging in states such as Florida, California and Arizona, some of which are seeing new case records being broken each day.
He acknowledged if more people were taking recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization “seriously” – wearing masks in public for example – Liliana’s indoor space would be open.
So for now, it’ll be only online ordering and curbside pick-up at Lilliana’s, Heide said.
“I don’t feel safe having (customers) in my building right now,” he explained.
Heide’s decision to not offer dine-in services comes as many businesses are operating at 50% capacity as outlined in Phase 2 of the county’s Forward Dane reopening plan, which began Monday, June 15.
Phase 2 also allows playgrounds and splash pads to open. Indoor gatherings are capped at 50 or fewer; outdoor at 100 or fewer. The county’s decision to move into Phase 2 came from analyzing two weeks of health data starting on May 26 and comparing it to nine health benchmarks, including epidemiology criteria counting the number and percentage of COVID-19 cases.
According to Public Health Madison and Dane County, since May 21, the county has seen its average number of daily new cases increase from eight to 16.
Some businesses that have reopened include Cosa Boutique and Kneaded Relief Day Spa, which both have protocols in place to reduce the chance customers and employees contract COVID-19 while in the store. Barriques offers outdoor seating, but has not yet opened its dine-in area, according to the business’ Facebook page.
Becky Lotto, Cosa Boutique merchandise buyer, told the Star the business is open for in-person shoppers, but there are limitations customers must follow.
Lotto said masks are required, and only two households are allowed in the boutique at one time. Employees sanitize clothing using a steamer and an ultraviolet light, and monitor the store to make sure customers remain six feet apart, she said.
Lotto said curbside pickup and delivery services are available for anyone who’s not ready to come into the store yet. The boutique also offers one-on-one personalized shopping appointments, she said.
She said she doesn’t have any concerns that operating at 50% capacity will have an impact on boutique sales, since the business is used to only having a few shoppers in the space.
Nichol Harvey, owner of Kneaded Relief Day Spa and Wellness, told the Star the business is limiting its massage services to 75 minutes. The spa also isn’t offering any couples services as of yet, she said.
Harvey said she had to research what its protocols would be for reopening, as she saw there wasn’t a lot of guidance at the state and federal level for spas and other businesses who hire independent contractors, such as tattoo parlors and salons.
Service providers at Kneaded Relief wear masks, sanitize treatment rooms and are allowed breaks after every service, she said. They, as well as guests, have their temperatures checked before entering the spa. Guests also have the option of waiting in the car for a service and are asked to wash their hands and wear spa sandals around the space.
The Fitchburg Barriques location, 5957 McKee Road, continues to offer curbside pickup and delivery services and now has outdoor seating for customers. The coffee shop is not yet offering dine-in services.
Heide said as a business owner it's “financially smart” to open his restaurant – but as a human being, he feels he has to do everything he can to prevent others from falling ill to COVID-19.
“I will sleep better at night knowing I did the right thing,” Heide said.