Wednesday, February 24, 2021 / by Ken Couture
Monday marks one week since businesses were able to increase to 35% capacity in Nevada.
As COVID-19 cases, along with the state's test positivity rate, continue to decline, restaurant owners are noticing more people willing to dine out.
The increase in capacity now allows them to fill more seats with familiar faces.
“We can see the community start to come out again, it’s more lively,” said Andy Hooper, the owner of Locale Italian Kitchen.
With capacity raised from 25 to 35%, Hooper said business is starting to feel like it was pre-pandemic. That’s because the new capacity restriction, along with social distancing, help to fill his small restaurant.
“In order to have so many tables in the restaurant at six feet, really 35% is kind of the max we can do right now,” Hooper said.
Families no longer have to split tables. Also, since reservation requirements are lifted, Hooper said he’s seen an uptick in walk-in business.
“They come here after the supermarket and say, 'Let’s have a drink' or 'let’s grab a quick app before we go home.' And that’s proven to be a big boost for us as well,” Hooper said.
However, down on the Strip, cutting mandatory reservations didn’t relieve the long lines outside Nacho Daddy.
“People are literally just hungry or thirsty. They want to come in and sit down. There’s waits at all the restaurants so they’re just trying to get a drink to walk around,” said Paul Hymas, president and co-founder of Nacho Daddy.
Nacho Daddy’s Paul Hymas said while he can now get more people into the restaurant. Still, customers are getting frustrated.
“It will be pretty interesting, March 15th, because there’s already more demand from locals and from tourists than we can meet, and 50% isn’t going to be a lot more. March is typically one of our top three months,” Hymas said.
Hymas adds while the pace to return to full capacity isn’t fast enough for both tourists and business, it shows an improvement when compared to the empty Strip we saw nearly a year ago, and he'll take it.
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