Hoosier restaurants prepare to reopen in May

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Governor Eric Holcomb said Indiana could begin reopening non-essential business by early May and has asked for suggestions on how that could happen from local industry leaders.

The Tap in downtown Indy has been empty for nearly a month, and they are hoping that could all change in a matter of weeks.

“We’ve always felt like sometime early-to-mid May was the timeline we were looking at,” said Chris Martin, director of operations at Finney Hospitality Group, which owns The Tap.

The Tap — which has locations in Indianapolis and Bloomington — has still been operating with carry out only. Even once guests are allowed in, they know it won’t be the same right away.

“I think for sure there will be some limit on how many people will be in the building at one time, whether that be a hard occupancy number or the requirement to continue six-foot distancing,” Martin said.

They also are looking at other potential changes, like single-use, disposable menus or silverware. Customers may also see more gloves and masks used behind the bar.

“Let’s face it, anything we can do to make the world a safer place and minimize risk,” Martin said. “Not only to make our guests feel safe but our employees to feel safe as well.”

In order to reopen, they need employees. Outside of managers, all of their employees have been furloughed. Like many restaurants, they want the same people back, but it could take time.

“We want them, and we’ll need them, but that will be something that will be interesting to see how that changed as well,” Martin said. “A lot of those employees are working for Kroger or Amazon or Sam’s Club or Costco or have left. So definitely, it’s going to be a challenge in what is already a challenging market.”

Despite losing big events and months of business, The Tap remains optimistic about the upcoming summer. It may look different, but what’s important remains the same.

“Luckily, the thing that wont change is things like TV’s, the socialization and cold beer and hot food, and stuff that really is the big reason you go out to restaurants,” Martin said.

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