Lowcountry restaurant brings back COVID-19 precautions

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 10:09 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 13, 2021 at 11:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Lowcountry restaurants are back on track with full-service but as COVID-19 cases increase in the region one restaurant is bringing back the precautions they once had it place.

Like many restaurants across the country, Nico Oysters + Seafood in Mount Pleasant had a rough year throughout the pandemic. For the first two months, the restaurant could only offer carry out and delivery services before they were able to open their patio to customers.

Slowly, the restaurant has been able to reopen indoor dine-in services with social distancing and new safety measures. Over time they began returning to service at full speed.

Now with a rise in COVID-19 cases and the unknowns tied to the Delta variant, the owner Nico Romo, said they are re-introducing safety measures.

“I was hoping like everybody else in the world right now that COVID would be way behind us, but it’s not. It’s still here,” Romo said. " We brought back our plastic menu that we could easily sanitize, and we just put everything back on. We have asked our staff to wear masks again and we are separating bar seating for social distance.”

Even though Romo said most of his team is vaccinated, he doesn’t want to take any chances when it comes to employees or customers getting sick.

When the new protocols were announced, the restaurant received some negative reviews from customers. After putting the message out on social media, Romo said he has also gotten a lot more support from people.

He said the mask policy is for the employees, and he will not force customers to wear masks. He said he wants to make the best decision for the safety of everyone in his restaurant.

“The virus is going to run its course no matter what we do, but slowing down and trying to do everything we can to protect each other is what we think is the best route ,and that’s what we’re going to continue to do,” Romo said.

As restaurants work to figure out what is best for them, the director of operations at Charleston Hospitality Group said their restaurants won’t reintroduce masks.

“You have the ‘We don’t want to wear a masks side and we have to we need to wear masks’ side. Ultimately in our stores we’re going to continue following what we’re mandated to do‚ but we’re also going to continue pursue not wearing masks and everyone getting healthy again,” Jeff Diehl with the Charleston Hospitality Group said.

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