Outdoor dining is making a comeback – giving some Guam restaurants a chance to fight for survival and customers the space to enjoy a meal with family away from the confines of home.
Some restaurants have spruced up their patios to welcome back diners al fresco, some with views of the ocean, the city or gardens.
"People really enjoy this option of outdoor dining. We've been having a good turnout," according to Ban Thai Restaurant marketing manager Jennifer McFerran.
With dining recently limited to outdoor spaces because of the pandemic, Ban Thai can seat only up to 20 people at a time in all its patio tables.
Prior to the pandemic, Ban Thai Restaurant in Tumon could accommodate about 75 people at any given time, both indoors and outdoors.
While making a reservation for the limited patio seats is encouraged, it's not necessarily a requirement, McFerran said.
Beachin' Shrimp, across from Pacific Islands Club in Tumon, has four patio tables to help satisfy cravings from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, McFerran said.
Pika's Cafe in Tumon, she said, also offers four outdoor tables for those dining al fresco from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., depending on the weather.
Daryl Manibusan, a bartender at Red Lobster at Tumon Sands Plaza, said eight outdoor tables are ready for diners to enjoy their meals.
"We've been having a decent amount of customers coming," he said.
Outdoor dining has been attracting people cooped up for weeks and months because of pandemic restrictions.
Parking lots have been transformed into impromptu seating, banquet tents took the place of cars, and sidewalks turned into ready-made patios to enjoy food and drinks.
Carabao Brewing in Hagåtña has been busy these days, after introducing its newest dining option right in its parking lot.
"Everybody seems happy to be dining outdoors, in a fun and safe environment," manager Corey Forbes said.
Forbes said up to 49 people can be accommodated in the establishment's al fresco dining and, depending on the time of day, it can get busy. Tables are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Capricciosa at Agana Shopping Center and at Pacific Place in Tumon have also welcomed back customers to their patio dining, and so has the beachside Turé Café in Hagåtña.
Down south, beachside Jeff's Pirates Cove in Talofofo has also been welcoming diners to its expansive outdoor dining, with refreshing views of the ocean.
Chris Garrido, manager at Chili's Grill & Bar at Tumon Sands Plaza, said the restaurant was nearly at full capacity during its first Friday night offering exclusively outdoor dining.
"We are open and welcome everyone to dine with us," he said. "This is helping not only our restaurant, but also others that can accommodate outdoor dining customers."
All restaurants offering outdoor dining have to abide by government rules, including limiting the seating to six people per table. The tables must be at least 6 feet apart from each other.
All diners at each table must also be from the same household.
Restaurant customers are also required to wear their masks until it's time for them to eat. When interacting with restaurant employees, they are asked to wear their masks.
Dining establishments are also required to ensure that dining areas are regularly cleaned and sanitized for customers' safety.
Outdoor dining customers are asked to use a sign-in sheet so that restaurants can keep a log of guests. The logbook system will help the Department of Public Health and Social Services quickly identify people who may have come into close contact with any diners or employees who test positive for COVID-19.
In addition to outdoor dining, restaurants are also continuing with their to-go, curbside and pickup services during Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1.
This is a nonexhaustive list of restaurants offering outdoor dining:
- Ban Thai Restaurant in Tumon
- Beachin' Shrimp across from PIC in Tumon
- Capricciosa at Agana Shopping Center
- Carabao Brewing in Hagåtña
- Chili's Grill & Bar at Tumon Sands Plaza
- Jeff's Pirates Cove in Ipan, Talofofo
- Mosa's Joint Restaurant in Hagåtña
- Outback Steakhouse in Tumon
- Pika's Cafe in Tamuning
- Red Lobster at Tumon Sands Plaza
- Turé Café in Hagåtña
Prior to the governor easing some restrictions during what's been called PCOR1.5, business groups submitted recommendations that included allowing outdoor dining in a bid to reopen the economy while observing physical distancing.