PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- People sitting down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at restaurants across Arizona is something that hasn't been seen in a long time.

The current health crisis has forced customers, like Nanette and Peter Auriemma of Phoenix, to eat at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But Governor Doug Ducey's plan to reopen Arizona, took a big step forward Monday, with restaurants given the green light to open their dining rooms up again.

The Phoenix couple said they are not worried about getting sick because of all the health and safety measures restaurants have put in place.

"This is great," said Nanette.  "This is the first feeling of getting back to normal."

"I think the best of us comes out during adversity, and we've learned how to social distance. We've learned how to cover our cough," said Peter, who is a doctor. "I'm very excited, and I think it's about time we really need to get back to our livelihood and our lives ."

George Shankool's family owns Saba's Mediterranean Kitchen in north Phoenix, which has made a number of changes to protect the public's health.

Every booth and menu gets thoroughly wiped down with sanitizer after customers leave. Even pens used to sign credit cards get a thorough cleaning. All condiments are handed out on an as-needed basis. Diners are kept a safe distance apart.

"How many people have been going out to all the different grocery stores and everything else?" asked Shankool.  "What's the difference between them and us? There's hundreds of people in those places, and here we have only 10 people, 20 people, 30 people tops."

Not everyone, however, thinks that reopening restaurants is a good idea right now, especially with a number of them opting to not have their servers and cooks wear masks.

Several business owners have signed a letter on TooSoonArizona.com stating that they will not be opening their doors until there's more medical evidence COVID-19 has been contained.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 

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