Businesses in North Alabama are a few days away from no longer having a 50% occupancy limit that was put in place to help fight coronavirus.
That's because on Thursday, Nov. 5, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris issued an amended "Safer at Home" order that lifted that restriction.
But not all businesses are taking advantage of the change.
Businesses can host more customers at once than they have been able to in months.
But Phuket Thai Restaurant in Huntsville is choosing to continue with only outdoor dining and takeout.
"Our priority is the safety of our employees and our guests," said Suwit Phornroekngam, the owner of Phuket Thai.
Phornroekngam says he decided to not open indoor seating because restaurants are the only business where you cannot ask guests to wear a mask.
And even with partitions up in the restaurant, he says it will not be the safest option for his staff and customers. He said the restaurant has not lost a lot of revenue due to the pandemic.
"It's not really going up or going down. I will say pretty much stayed the same, because people who want to dine in, they actually order to go or pickup or delivery," said Phornroekngam.
And their takeout business aided in the decision to not serve customers indoors.
"One of the reasons, too, that we decided to not open the indoor seating because we believe that we can survive with that environment," Phornroekngam said.
But he is worried about the approaching colder months even with the heat lamps and blankets that the restaurant has for guests.
"In January and February, when it's really cold, we will probably, if nothing really changes and the situation is not getting better, we will probably just go back to delivery and to-go orders," said Phornroekngam.
The Phuket Thai restaurant will not be closed for indoor dining forever though. The owner said that once the pandemic is more under control, the restaurant will have indoor dining again.
Even with that 50% occupancy limit lifted, businesses will have to add partitions or curtains if customers cannot stay at least six feet apart.