When most businesses temporarily closed days after the government reported the first COVID-19 case on Guam, Ma's Kitchen in Tamuning remained open, but at a limited capacity.

"We survived with our to-go and delivery service. I can't say it's really good, but we're able to stay open," restaurant owner Casey Truong said on Monday.

On Friday, Ma's Kitchen will welcome back dine-in customers "if everything goes well," she said.

No employee was furloughed or laid off, but there were some work-hour cuts, considering the reduced operations.

Out of an abundance of caution and for the health of employees and customers, Truong said, she decided to keep the dine-in service closed until she feels it's safe to welcome back dine-in customers. 

GovGuam now requires dine-in restaurants to observe a maximum of 50% occupancy to give ample space for social distancing.

That's in addition to required masks for customers and employees, and frequent sanitizing, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Ben N' Yan's in Dededo will reopen for dining in this Friday, according to manager Neil Espino.

"We thank our customers for patiently waiting for us to reopen our dine-in," he said on Monday. "With 50% occupancy, we can still accommodate up to 70 people because our in-house catering space will be used for dine-in. We are still not open for in-house catering for private parties."

Espino said Ben N' Yan's waited until the number of tests increased and the number of positive cases decreased before it set a reopening date for dining in. The restaurant continues its to-go and pickup service.

Proa Restaurant in Tumon will welcome back dine-in customers on Aug. 3, Executive Chef Geoffrey Perez said.

"We're super excited and we can't wait to see our customers in the restaurant again," he said, adding that the restaurant has taken its time until it's fully prepared for dine-in service.

The restaurant has been open only for curbside and home delivery since April. "The protection of our staff and customers are our main concern," Perez said.

Jamaican Grill in Hagåtña, Dededo and Tumon will reopen for dine-in either on Aug. 3 or Aug. 10, restaurant co-owner and company President Frank Kenney said.

The company is awaiting the arrival of equipment that will help the restaurants implement the required social distancing while providing dine-in service, he said.

"We erred on the side of caution," Kenney said.

He said he had to rethink the restaurant's strategy and surveyed what others have done to cope with the new realities.

"We decided to pause, but we can't be closed forever," he said.

There are also restaurants that have not set a reopening date for dine-in service, such as Cham's Thai Cuisine at the ITC Building in Tamuning. The eatery continues to focus on to-go service.

"In conversing with some to-go customers and other people I meet, they said they are still not comfortable dining out. They still hesitate to be in a restaurant with other people not wearing mask most of the time," she said. "We're not in a rush to open dine-in just yet."

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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