Morgantown bar and restaurant owners “cautiously optimistic” about returning to full capacity

West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, WV (WBOY) – For the first time in a long time, West Virginian bar and restaurant owners can operate at full capacity.

The bar area at The Greene Turtle

Gov. Justice’s new rules went into effect on Saturday, March 17, and business owners began to notice the difference immediately. That was especially the case at The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille.

“It’s going very well,” Kitchen Manager Joe Campbell said. “We had a wonderful weekend. We had a lot of great customers.”

Just because things are opening back up does not mean caution can be thrown into the wind. Instead, Campbell said, “cautiously optimistic” is how he and the rest of management plan on moving forward at The Greene Turtle.

“We want to stay safe,” he said. “We still have six people at a table at the max. We try to keep space, and we still ask for a mask when you come in and anytime you’re not at your table. We want to be optimistic, but we want to be good and safe at the same time. We’re still going through our COVID protocols of cleaning, sanitizing every Monday.”

The Greene Turtle is not alone in its push to remain cautiously optimistic. Campbell said he has spoken to other local bar and restaurant owners who also said they would tread lightly moving forward.

He said they are all excited to reopen and “to get back to as normal as it can be.” However, they all agree that it is key to remain proactive rather than reactive when it comes to tackling COVID-19 spread in their respective businesses.

Campbell said he and other business owners/operators are grateful to the governor but reiterated his point about caution again.

“We worked too hard, all of us together, to try to make our restaurants and all businesses in West Virginia safe,” Campbell said. “We’re this close; let’s not mess it up by something we can prevent. I would say appreciative but again, cautious.”

Greene Turtle server wipes down table after customers leaver

One of the aspects of reopening the economy the kitchen manager said he is most excited about is seeing people walk back into the sports bar and grill with friends, loved ones, and smiles on their faces.

The other aspect Campbell is most excited about is what those people bring with them — economic hope.

Campbell said he recently had two days of open interviews because more staff need to be hired to meet the needs of the surge of customers. After a year of so many businesses having to lay people off, Campbell said, this isn’t a bad problem to have.

“I know I’ve talked to other restaurant friends, and they’re excited about getting back to business,” he said. “We’re excited to bring new staff in. We’re excited to see customers. I know everybody has a little bit of cabin fever.”

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