GREAT FALLS — During the shutdown caused by the response to COVID-19 pandemic, MacKenzie River Pizza Company has continued to offer curb-side and take-out options for their customers as well as starting an offer of delivery to their customers too. Now, as restaurants begin to re-open their dining rooms in accordance with Governor Steve Bullock's three-phase plan, MacKenzie River is welcoming dine-in customers again - with enhanced safety protocols in place.
Assistant manager Krystal Phleger outlined all the steps they have been taking, including deep cleaning every part of the restaurant including the high-chairs, booths, and bathrooms, and scrubbing the kitchen from top to bottom.
Phleger also said part of their new policy on re-opening to the public includes cleaning menus thoroughly after each use, and servers and staff will be wearing masks as well as gloves that are changed with each interaction, whether in the kitchen or out on the dining floor. Certain areas like the bathrooms will be cleaned every 15 minutes as well as the kitchen where they will stop production every 15 minutes to clean and sanitize every surface and then continue on.
Phleger says that with all of the precautions, things may take longer than normal to allow time for extra cleaning. But that it is worth it to be able to interact with customers again. “Sometimes things take a little bit slower, the food’s a little bit slower, because we are having to stop, (but) we’re just doing these measures to make sure everyone stays safe,” Phleger said.
She added, “It’s a lot of cleaning but we’re doing what we can do just to make sure everybody stays safe. It’s kind of nice to actually interact with the customers now, and we actually get to see faces again.”
They opened their patio early this year to provide customers with the option to be outside as well.
NOTE: Before you head out to any restaurant, we recommend that you call ahead to find out if they are open; some restaurants have opted to delay re-opening for several days or weeks.
Here are some of the guidelines that restaurants must follow in order to re-open their dining rooms:
- A specific cleaning plan must be implemented, and employees must be trained in proper sanitation practices.
- All surfaces occupied must be cleaned between customers, including tables, chairs, booths, and highchairs.
- Table items including, condiments, menus, napkins, and décor, should be removed from the table unless they can be adequately cleaned between customers.
- Menus must be cleaned between customers.
- Growlers and refillable or reusable containers must be cleaned prior to being refilled.
- Capacity must be limited to 50% of normal operating capacity to allow for adequate group spacing.
- Tables must be limited to six people per table.
- Establishments must provide for 6 feet of physical distancing between groups and or tables by increasing table spacing, removing tables, or marking tables as closed; providing for a physical barrier between tables; or back-to-back booth seating provides adequate separation.
- Sitting or standing at bars or counters is not allowed.
- In bars, drinks and food must be served to customers at a table.
The above information is just a brief summary of key points; click here for more details of the re-opening plan.