Indy restaurant to follow 'Hoosier Hospitality' guidelines for reopening

Posted at 5:18 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 21:42:55-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The owner at Thunderbird in Fountain Square said he doesn't plan to reopen his restaurant until June 1. But, when the doors do open, the owner bought a thermometer to screen employees daily.

Located in the heart of Fountain Square, Thunderbird is known for its bourbon selection and southern inspired food. Owner Joshua Gonzales said for the last seven years they've been a staple in the community. Now that it's time to think about reopening, his focus is on making sure his staff and guests feel comfortable.

"We are taking a more cautious approach," Gonzales said. "I've been speaking with a lot of the business owners in the neighborhood and I think we are all on the same page."

Once Thunderbird opens, Gonzales said they will follow the Hoosier Hospitality Promise, which are guidelines released by the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association.

LEARN MORE | COVID-19 reopening guidance from the National Restaurant Association |Hoosier Hospitality Promise from the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association

"All staff will complete a health screen prior to shift, every shift, even if they work a double," Patrick Tamm, president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, said. "The other key component of this, which a lot of Hoosiers need to understand, while we are committed to our guests, we are committed to our staff."

The guidelines call on customers to avoid coming inside if they have had contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms or have symptoms themselves. They also include extensive sanitizing, single use menus and social distancing guidelines.

There is one challenge that worries Gonzales.

"Will people want to be in a crowded space?" Gonzales said. "Are people going to want to be going to the busy establishments again? It's a great unknown."

Gonzales is hopeful things return to normal by July or August and people once again fill up these empty tables.

The Hoosier Hospitality Promise serves as guidance for locally-owned restaurants that don't have access to many resources. All of the guidelines come from the National Restaurant Association which worked with the Food and Drug Administration to come up with the best practices for reopening.