SC restaurant dining rooms are open, with changes


Aiken (WJBF)- On Monday, restaurants all over South Carolina reopened their dining rooms at a 50 percent capacity with social distancing rules in place.

One restaurant owner says that most people are understanding, but there are quite a few that just aren’t happy about dealing with these restrictions.

Apizza di Napoli in Aiken is a popular mom and pop pizza joint. They specialize in Neapolitan wood fire cooked pizza. The cooking process is detailed, and takes time to produce the perfect pie. Customers are willing to wait, because they know their patience will be rewarded. That kind of patience is coming in handy these days.

Cliff Garzillo, owner at Apizza diNapoli says “Our regular customers are the ones that are complying the most. Understanding. They’ve been very supportive throughout this whole deal.”

But he says that the learning curve that he and his staff are dealing with is doubled for customers who are new to his establishment.

“It’s been a learning experience for them because we already have strict rules in place on how we do things and what we do. And for them, it’s just another layer of complexity for them. Some get frustrated with it and some just adapt as best as they can,” says Garzillo.

Cindy Rudisil owns Cyndi’s Sweet Shoppe on Laurens Street in Aiken.

While her store isn’t a restaurant and was not required to close, she chose to do so anyway to keep her employees and customers safe. When the governor opened dining rooms, she decided it was a good time to reopen her store as well.

Rudisill says that before the pandemic you could come into her store and serve yourself but now that is no longer the case. She also says that while she hasn’t had customers be rude to her staff, people are choosing to leave when they see the sign outside her store with the rules.

So what do these owners want you to know about the Food and Beverage industry during this pandemic? They ask that people please be kind to one another.

“Have patience. It’s stressful on all of them. It’s stressful on all of us. We’re trying to keep them safe. We’re trying to keep all of my employees safe. It’s a work in progress,” says Garzillo.

The F&B industry is one of the most stressful industries to work in. So please, remember to be kind to and patient with your waitstaff as we all navigate through the changes the pandemic has brought us.

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