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Houston restaurants prepare to reopen, but they need your help

On Friday, Texas restaurants will be allowed to reopen their dining areas to the public.

HOUSTON — Texas restaurants are getting ready to reopen their dining areas to the public on Friday. Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest order allows them to do that, but under new rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Bollo Woodfired Pizza in the 2200 block of Alabama Street is getting its employees ready.

“We're cautiously optimistic. We don't want to go too far with this. Hopefully, this will make some normality in what we're doing," owner Ray Salti said.

He said his workers will be ready and able to deal with the new rules that include only allowing 25% capacity and keeping tables and people away from each other.

But Salti admits it won't be easy.

"If you have a family of four and they want to sit together and you only have 10 seats at the bar, now you have to remove the other seats, put them somewhere else,” he said. “We just have to keep shuffling things the first few weeks.”

As for enforcement of the new rules, Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena said the fire department has responsibility for business code enforcement and that the police department is enforcing things in outdoor areas.

Pena said they will respond based on complaints.

It appears businesses will have to monitor themselves, but to make it work, restaurants said they need your help.

"There's also a set of guidelines for customers. We can't do this alone,” Dr. Emily Knight, President and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, said.

“If customers come in and they don't feel well, or they come in and don't follow the protocols of the sanitizing areas, or crowding in groups, that’s gonna make it really difficult on a restaurant," Knight said.

There are no numbers yet on how many restaurants are choosing to reopen on Friday. The Texas Restaurant Association said some will wait till next week to see how it’s going.

They hope it goes well, for an industry that’s lost 700,000 jobs in Texas alone.

RELATED: Harris County unveils 3-step plan to avoid second wave of coronavirus cases

RELATED: Retail stores, movie theaters, restaurants and malls able to reopen May 1, Gov. Abbott says

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