INDIANAPOLIS – Marion County became the most recent location in the state of Indiana to begin a return to a semblance of normal in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Along Massachusetts Avenue through downtown pedestrians strolled down the center lanes as tables and chairs dotted the sidewalks and curbs and diners took eating lunch and dinner under a partially overcast Hoosier sky.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett ordered the closure of five stretches of streets, from downtown to Broad Ripple Village, in an attempt to coax Marion County residents out of their homes and slowly ramp up the county’s restaurant industry.
“I think it’s gonna be good,” said Ricky Tindell of the Thunderdome Restaurant Group. “As long as everyone maintains the standard for social distancing, I think we can keep everyone healthy and happy.”
Two of Tindell’s restaurants remained closed to the sparse lunchtime crowd Friday afternoon that broke the pandemic dining ban.
“We’re doing reservation only this weekend, four to twelve, for both Bakersfield and The Eagle,” said Tindell. “We just think that’s going to be a little easier for us to maintain and control that. We’re doing limited time at the tables.”
Next door at The Garden Table, General Manager Craig Rogers supervised the brunch and lunch restaurant’s existing patio and tables added to the sidewalk and the curb lane of Mass Ave.
“Our regular patio tables are six feet apart and it only seats about sixteen, so the extra space really helps us get some diners in here,” he said. “Tomorrow and Sunday, especially for brunch. we’re gonna see a big increase and influx of people.”
All restaurants have been instructed to enforce social distancing rules, provide personal protection equipment to staff and sanitize tables after diners paid the check.
By dinnertime, the patio at Bru Burger was filled to capacity as waiters and waitresses in facemasks bustled between tables of diners who were not wearing any facial covering.