Today is the day that restaurants in WNY are finally able to reopen for indoor dining.  Here's what you should know before you decide to head out to eat.

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Although I won't be heading out to eat at a restaurant just yet, I am excited that it's even possible again. If you are going to take advantage of indoor dining, now that we are in phase 3 of reopening WNY, there are some things you should know before you go. According to New York State's phase three guidelines:

1. Restaurants must keep their capacity at 50 percent or less. That means that they could get pretty 'crowded,' pretty quickly. You may want to check to see if the restaurant offers reservations, before you decide to go.

2. Tables must be spaced at least six feet apart, so your favorite restaurant might not look exactly how you remember it from the pre-COVID days.  Restaurants are also encouraged to keep separate entrances for staff and delivers, so things may be configured.

3. Servers must wear masks at all times. You and your party can take masks off, while seated at your table, because you know, it would be pretty hard to eat otherwise.

4. If you see a friend you didn't come with at another table, you may get scolded if you try to pull up a chair and talk to them at their table. Patrons seated at a table, must be members of the same party.

5. If you want to be fancy and use silverware and fine china, that might not be possible. Some restaurants may opt to use plastic cutlery and paper/plastic plates. You may also see disposable menus (which I am a fan of, because menus tend to harbor all types of germs, dirt and grime).

6. You could have to wait in your car if there is a wait. New York recommends that restaurants

"Encourage customers to wait in their car or outside until food is ready to be picked up/they’re ready to be seated."

If you are not quite comfortable eating indoors at a restaurant yet, you might want to check out some of these spots that have patios. We have been enjoying beautiful weather and it's nice to be able to enjoy it socially again.

Buffalo Soul Food, BBQ and Caribbean Restaurants

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