Indoor dining still not allowed for Virginia restaurants in first phase of reopening


BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – Small business owner are watching every day, waiting for good news from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

“Every time he’s on I’m listening to see if there’s gonna be a change and just keep my fingers crossed that it’s not going backwards,” Joe Deel said.

Deel owns Burger Bar in Briston, Virginia. He still can’t help but look across State Street and see open dining areas in Tennessee restaurants.

“Because the state line splits the businesses it just seems a little ridiculous science isn’t involved in this, this isn’t a science question here,” Deel said.

Gov. Northam did announce a phased reopen plan that will start next Friday, but restaurants are not included. They must remain takeout only.

ALSO READ: Virginia Gov. Northam: Indoor dining, gyms, entertainment to remain closed in first phase of reopening

“I think in Bristol particularly people are even more ready because of the Bristol, Tennessee side opening up and that phase one reopening happening right before their eyes you know 30 yards across the street so to speak,” Bristol Chamber of Commerce president Beth Rhinehart said.

This has caused frustration in Southwest Virginia; they feel they should have a different reopen plan than the rest of the state because they have fewer COVID-19 cases.

“You know that’s why I saw in Richmond, they don’t understand what’s going on down here if they were down here looking at it I think they would have a different perspective,” Deel said.

It has also caused devastation. More and more businesses have closed permanently.

“I mean down here in Bristol we’re losing businesses pretty much every day, everyday it’s like pick up the paper and see who’s not gonna be back open and these are people I know,” Deel said.

Deel says Burger Bar is safe for now. He’s just ready to open, and he will keep waiting every day.

“I haven’t slept well in six weeks so it would be nice to get it opened up so that I could actually have a good night sleep and not have to worry about losing this business,” Deel said.

You can find Michael Epps on Facebook and Twitter.

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