FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Bars and restaurants are filling up with Razorback fans watching the men’s basketball team play in the SEC tournament. Many restaurants say they are welcoming in more customers now that they don’t have to follow COVID-19 restrictions, but they are still playing it safe.
Governor Asa Hutchinson converted COVID-19 directives to recommended guidelines opening the doors for more customers at bars and restaurants now that they are no longer required to be at 66% capacity.
“We’re not quite taking that huge jump yet,” Tim Farrell said.
Farrell’s Lounge on Dickson Street has moved from 66% to about 79% capacity. Owner Tim Farrell says they are still requiring masks and encouraging social distancing.
“We added two or three tables, but for the most part, we have a lot of space here, and we are still able to keep the tables six feet apart and still keep people safe but also have a good time,” he said.
Over by Baum-Walker Stadium, Foghorn’s is back to 100% capacity, and they expect a large crowd to watch not only basketball but also baseball. Manager Claire Hoskins says their tables are still spaced out more than before.
“We are doing our part by wearing masks and sanitizing, sanitizing, sanitizing and doing whatever we can to keep us safe and everyone else safe while also getting that feeling of normalcy back, so that everyone can have a good time so that we can get back to normal,” she said.
Farrell says inviting more customers back feels like the nightmare we’ve been living in the last year is coming to an end.
“I remember the cancellations of everything like it was just yesterday and to be back at this point and time and seeing a much-improved Razorback basketball team going to the postseason here at some point soon,” he said. “Finding that out this Sunday, like where we were in, is the best time of the year.”
Even though some restaurants are open with a higher capacity, they still require masks to be worn and encourage all customers to practice social distancing. If you aren’t ready to dine out, many restaurants still offer curbside service, and some offer delivery.