Some El Paso restaurants open with limited occupancy, others stick to takeout


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Something no one in El Paso has seen for a while, customers walking into a restaurant sitting down to enjoy a meal, was visible at several establishments on Friday.

For the first time in over a month, locally-owned BBQ restaurant Rib Hut opened their doors and allowed customers inside.

Rib Hut opens dining area.

“A relief I guess, you know what I mean because a lot of places are deciding not to open. So with us doing so it just kind of gives them the opportunity to just come and hang out for a little bit you know, get out of the house,” said Edward Medina the manager of Rib Hut.

That was the case for El Pasoan Hector Robles who stopped by Rib Hut Friday afternoon for lunch with his friends.

“I like eating inside a restaurant I don’t like take out,” said Robles .

Guest coming to enjoy their favorite Rib Hut dishes.

“The rib hut hamburger,” said Robles.

“Probably a burger,” said Jim Burek, another dine- in customer.

Rib Hut is taking precautions by keeping tables spaced and requiring that employees wear masks and gloves. Guests are also asked to wear masks inside. However, they can, of course, take the mask to eat.

“The employees some of them are still a little rocky. Of course, we’re all still a little nervous but as long as we do it the smart way we should be fine,” said Medina.

However, another local restaurant, Tepalca is choosing not to allow customers to dine- in just yet.

“The safety is a lot more important our health for our employees is important as well that’s really the only reason why,” said Alex Boeadilla the manager of Tepalca.

Boeadilla added that opening up the dining area now wouldn’t boost sales much.

Rib Hut employees required to wear gloves and masks.

“In all reality, 25 percent of the dining capacity for us wouldn’t make that much of a difference,” said Boeadilla.

El Paso restaurants were allowed to open at 25 percent capacity on May 1 as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas.

Allowing restaurants to open at 25 percent capacity was part of Phase 1 of the Governors plan. Phase 2 could begin on May 18 allowing restaurants to open up at 50 percent capacity.

However that depends on how the spread of COVID-19 is by that date.

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