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Alabama restaurants allowed to have self-serve buffets again

The amended state health order went into effect on Tuesday allowing self serve buffets, but there are rules they have to follow.

Posted: Sep 1, 2020 8:37 PM

Tuesday, is the first full day restaurants in Alabama are allowed to resume self-serve buffets. The revised coronavirus health order includes specific rules to make sure there is safe operation.

Buffets across Huntsville told WAAY 31 they were unaware they could start self-serve again. At Terry's Pizza it's something they don't plan on starting anytime soon.

Austin Jones is the director at Terry's Pizza. He read the health order, but didn't think after six months self-serve buffets would really be able to reopen.

"I didn't think it was true. You know? I just kept going. I was like, well we will keep doing what we're doing," he explained.

Jones said when the restaurant was able to reopen to dine-in customers in May, opening the buffet took a little longer.

"It took us two months to open up the buffet back up, this way, cafeteria style," he explained

Jones said they ordered Plexiglass barriers for the buffet and brought in extra employees each shift to serve customers and sanitize the restaurant. He expects those changes to stick.

"We've already taken the steps to make it much safer and healthier for everybody. I don't think we are going to remove any of those," he said.

Now, the health order states an employee must be present at the self-serve buffet, make sure customers maintain a six-foot separation, and provide sanitizer for customers to apply before using a buffet.

Jones said employees serving pizza and salads for the lunch buffet instead of making it self-serve seems like the safest option for his restaurant.

"We're going to keep it that way. We've already spent all the money to fix all of it and have the glass and shields and everything," he added.

The order also includes salad bars and self serve drink stations, and they have to follow the same safety rules as buffets.

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