By Kenny Choi

NAPA (CBS SF) — Diners flocked to Napa County restaurants for the first time since mid-March Sunday, enjoying their first dine-in meal since shelter-in-place restrictions were eased as part of Phase 2 reopening.

For many, it’s business in a different way but also a big relief to see diners coming in from far away and locals, too.

Several restaurant owners told KPIX 5 that the number of seatings per day has increased, especially during the first weekend since the later stage of Phase 2 allowed full-service restaurants to reopen. But they also say many tough challenges lie ahead.

“We’re doing the best job we can for everyone, so that everyone feels safe and as safe as possible,” said Joel Tavizon of Celadon Restaurant in Napa.

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Tavizon had never made chefs cook with gloves on in his three decades of running a restaurant until now. Outside in the dining area, there were smiles, snaps, and a buzz among patrons.

“It’s nice to be out to be honest and just to get some fresh air out with the family,” said Kalpana Sondhi, who traveled with her family from Danville.

Dining capacity has been reduced by 50 percent or more, staff sizes cut, limited contact between servers and guests, and new safety measures never seen before.

“He’’s about to reset a table. He’ll take a linen bag, put the dirty linen in and then changes gloves right after. Then he’ll put another pair of gloves on,” said Tavizon .

Similar safety measures have been implemented at Tarla Mediterranean Bar & Grill down the street. Temperature scans are taken of employees before each shift.

“Everyone was happy and ready to get going again because most people were at home for 2 1/2 months,” said Jason Naaman of Tarla Mediterranean Bar & Grill.

“It’s good to see the workers out working. I’m sure it feels good for them too,” said Craig Robinson of Danville.

Restaurant owners say they’ve noticed locals and guests traveling from all parts of the Bay Area.

“I think everyone’s tired of being stuck at home a little bit, so it’s nice to get back to some normality back in our lives,” said Tavizon.

“I’ve been waiting for all the restaurants and bars to reopen. We’re here to support every business in the Bay Area, every restaurant, every bar,” said Raul Sondhi.

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