Reopening The Region: Local Virginia restaurants preparing to reopen outdoor dining

Reopening The Region

STATE STREET, Bristol (WJHL)- Restaurants in Bristol, Tennessee have been able to offer dine-in seating at 50% capacity for a few weeks now, but across the street in Bristol, Virginia, restaurants have been restricted to serving take-out and only having outdoor seating.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the ease of some restaurant restrictions on Wednesday as part of phase one of Virginia’s reopening plan.

MORE: Virginia restaurant owners scramble to reopen, lawmakers call for regional approach

Starting Friday, restaurants can reopen outdoor seating at 50% capacity.

To create more room for outdoor dining this weekend, the Bristol Virginia City Council voted to shut down Piedmont Avenue from State Street to Goode Street.

MORE: Bristol, VA to close street as Burger Bar, Quaker Steak & Lube reopen outdoor dining this weekend

Police cars and barriers will block off the area designated for outdoor seating.

Quaker Steak and Lube have already put out tents and say they will be having live music to keep customers entertained while dining outside.

Just down the road on State Street, Shanghai-Restaurant, which is on the Virginia side, can usually seat around 100 people in their restaurant.

Under Governor Northam’s guidelines, they would be allowed to seat around 50 outside, but with limited space available on their patio and sidewalk, they’ll only be able to sit around 15 people.

“Well, we only allow pickup, to-go orders and delivery. Tomorrow, we can do business outside our patio or on our sidewalk,” said Ying Wei, the owner of Shanghai-Restaurant.

She said though Tennessee’s guidelines are less strict than what Virginia’s guidelines are, both sides of State Street are struggling.

“Tennessee side is already open. Still slow business. It’s not easy. Everybody still cares about safety for people,” said Wei.

Shanghai-Restaurant has been open for almost 24 years, and Wei said she’s just glad to serve her customers in person again after just being able to do delivery and carry-out orders,

“We’re just so happy we have many many very wonderful and nice customers who support me, and we love this Bristol place, city. Everybody is so nice, so wonderful.”  

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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