EastWest prepares to reopen its dining room after Birmingham curfew lifted

Businesses happy to see curfew end

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham’s city-wide curfew is lifted, and several downtown businesses are ready to extend their hours.

The owner of EastWest is excited to welcome guests back into the dining room, but he wanted to eliminate any confusion about the city’s curfew and the county’s curfew, so he decided to wait one more day to reopen.

The dining room at EastWest has been closed for 3 months now due to COVID-19.

Owner, Colby Conklin, had hoped to open last week, but decided not to when Mayor Randall Woodfin ordered a city-wide curfew from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

“Primarily our business revolved around being open for dinnertime,” Conklin said.

“It wouldn’t make much sense for us considering the fact that that’s about the peak time of our business, and that’s when we start to generate most of our sales,” Conklin explained.

That curfew started June 1st following protests that turned destructive, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to several downtown businesses, and while EastWest wasn’t physically damaged, Conklin said being closed an extra week causes financial damage.

“Anytime we don’t have revenue coming in, it hurts us. The bills are still coming in, right? So, we do need sales and we do need to have that revenue. So, that was unfortunate, but we understand, and we obviously are just moving forward,” Conklin said.

Part of moving forward includes reopening the dining room.

Lisa Burton is the general manager at EastWest.

She said employees and staff have been working around the clock to ensure guests are safe inside the restaurant.

“We have put sanitization stations by the front door and the hallways available easily for the guests to use. We have the thermal temperature checks with all employees that line up every single day. There are sanitizer bottles on each table for individual use from customers, the guests. Our family and yours is important to us and we’ve done everything possible to take lengths to care for everyone,” Burton said.

The restaurant will also practice social distancing, so tables and bar stools will be spaced at least 6 feet apart.

Employees will also be wearing face coverings.

EastWest will open its dining room Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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