Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce president Kevin Hensel is excited to see many local businesses regain their footing.

In the wake of Gov. Pete Ricketts on April 24 announcing relaxed coronavirus-related restrictions in 59 of the state’s 93 counties, including Sarpy and others in the greater Omaha area, several restaurants and other businesses like massage therapists, salons and tattoo parlors have been able to open while adhering to social distancing precautions.

Ricketts order is effective through May 31 and allows restaurants to reopen dining rooms at or below half of their capacity.

“We are excited to see that businesses are able to get up and running again,” Hensel said. “I think it has been interesting and important for the businesses to kind of self-assess where they are with their readiness and preparedness to open back up.”

Locally, Hensel said he’s aware of La Mesa Mexican restaurant on Fort Crook Road and Sickies Garage Burgers & Brew on Cornhusker Road opening their dining rooms to limited numbers.

Others, he said, remain offering delivery, drive-thru, curbside and carryout services because of coronavirus and financial concerns.

“Some aren’t venturing to dine-in yet because they want to make sure they are able to get it right,” Hensel said. “One of the restaurant owners I spoke with said it was not cost-effective to actually bring on more staff for the dine-in at this point in time with all of the other regulations.”

Regardless of restaurants’ decision-making approach, Hensel said he’s been hearing lots of positives from owners about how the community has stepped up and helped them remain operational.

“They have all been so impressed with the support from the community,” he said. “And granted, we focus a lot on restaurants, but I think the community as a whole has been supportive of just staying local and shopping local.”

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