Houston, Texas restaurant Federal Grill's Hedwig Village location will resume dine-in service despite Harris County coronavirus quarantine

HOUSTON -- One Houston restaurateur has decided not to let a stay-at-home/work-safe order prevent him from operating his business.

Matt Brice said he will reopen the dining room at the Hedwig Village location of Federal Grill for dinner service on Friday. The restaurant will be open for dinner only, from 5 to 10 p.m., and reservations will be required. The restaurant will only be open to 30% of its capacity at first.

"I know some people won't like it, but on the other side I think it's time to open this economy back up -- carefully, very carefully," he said.

Brice has developed an extensive series of safety and hygiene protocols designed to keep both his customers and his staff as safe as possible. They include temperature checks for employees at the beginning of every shift, only seating 30% of the restaurant's normal capacity, replacing common-use items like menus and salt shakers with disposable, one-time only products and regular sanitizing of common touch points like door handles, check presenters and pens.

"The government doesn't have the right to choose who can open and who can close," restaurant owner Matt Brice told ABC's Houston affiliate.

He said Federal Grill is opening with out-of-work employees in mind.

"We have to open," Brice said. "We have to survive. And that's what we're doing."

FULL INTERVIEW: ABC13 spoke with the owner of Federal Grill, who said he's reopening his restaurant despite Harris County's executive order

Federal American Grill issued a statement with the following measures they intend to put in place:

1. Every employee will be required to have their temperatures taken before allowed to clock in and begin working by the manager on duty. Any employee not deemed fit to work will be sent home and required to show proof of being tested negative for COVID-19, before returning to work

2. Every employee will be required to wear hand gloves and change as needed

3. All employees will be required to wear face masks while working

4. All menus will be disposable and used once per patron

5. A bathroom attendant will manage a one-person-at-a-time use of our restrooms along with continuous sanitation of facilities

6. Doors will be open for adequate air flow through the dining areas.

7. Paper goods and disposable items will be used whenever possible (no unnecessary items will be on the tables, such as salt and pepper shakers)
a. Salt & pepper packets

b. Sugar packets, sweeteners and creamers

8. All high-traffic areas will be diligently sanitized. Examples include (not limited to):
a. Door handles, phones, check presenters, POS stations and pens
b. Tables and chairs will be immediately sanitized after every use.

9. Open to the public up to 30% occupancy. After two weeks of testing this pilot program and positive information from local government, may increase occupancy.
a. Minimum of 6 feet between tables (will do 8 feet whenever possible) to ensure social table distancing, no more than six guests per table.

10. Hands-free payment options will be available and strongly recommended.

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