Restaurants, movie theaters take precautions due to coronavirus concerns

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On a weekend night across the metro area, many people are likely asking themselves, "should we go out or stay in?"

At W.A. Frost restaurant in St. Paul, co-owner Stephanie Laitala-Rupp understands her customers’ concerns about coronavirus.

"Right now, we know it’s a matter of when, not if," she said. "A week ago, who heard of social distancing?"

So Laitala-Rupp and her husband decided to try something a little different: move the dining room tables six feet apart.

"We actually moved them away from each other, took a few tables out," she said. "Our marble tables were a little heavy, so we simply draped them."

You see, six feet is a safe "social distancing zone," according to state health officials.

Farther apart means less chance of spreading sickness.

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"I’m comfortable with it right now," said Sue McNellis, a customer who lives in the neighborhood. "It may change as time goes by, but right now, I’m fine with it, think it’s a good idea."

But it’s not just restaurants.

"Think it’s a good idea to limit the amount of people in a certain area," Derrick Meacham, of Crystal, declared.

Meacham and a friend were out to see a movie at the Willow Creek Emagine Theater in Plymouth.

The chain announced it’s now limiting seating to half capacity for each screening room. There’s a maximum limit of 100 patrons per room.

For Meacham, social distancing is something new.

"We got a baby shower to go to tomorrow, and it hasn’t been canceled, so still planning on going that way," he said.

Back at W.A. Frost, they’re expecting a financial hit.

But Laitala-Rupp said this is the right thing to do.

"Sure we got rid of half our tables," she said. "Will that impact our revenues? Probably. But it seems a really small price to pay for the healthy community."

You can track more disruptions due to COVID-19 here.