Coronavirus News: NYC restaurateur reimagines post-COVID eatery experience

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Thursday, May 21, 2020
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The coronavirus has changed the way eateries do business, and one New York City restaurateur is reimagining the future of his business as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The coronavirus has changed the way eateries do business, and one New York City restaurateur is reimagining the future of his business as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

And moving forward, how customers do things inside the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop on the Lower East Side will resemble a 21st Century take on the automat.

A touchless kiosk and food in lockers mean diners will have little -- if any -- contact with people.

Owner Stratis Morfogen said he's doing everything in his power there and at Brooklyn Chop House to make sure COVID-19 stays away.

"It's not fair to health care workers when we start getting sick that they have to then take care of us because we were negligent or a little irresponsible," he said.

The changes are striking, with roughly 7-foot-tall partitions separating tables and staff wearing face shields.

"This is going to be the new place setting," Morfogen said. "Everything is going to be Saran wrapped."

Strips will indicate whether a table has been disinfected, and customers will walk through thermoscanners at the front door.

"If you're over 99.7 (degrees), a red light goes on," Morfogen said. "And then we have a wall unit where you put your wrist up against the wall."

It reads your temperature a second time.

Morfogen believes the plan the city is putting together doesn't go far enough, and so he's sharing his ideas with competitors.

"If they take these precautions and save one person, then it's better than money," he said.

Looking ahead, Morfogen says that even when a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, he'll still keep some of the safety measure in place at Brooklyn Chop House.

"I want people's level of anxiety to drop when they walk in, want them to actually enjoy a meal," he said.

It's more proof that the old school way of thinking, of how we went out to eat, is gone.

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