Restaurant executives say 'it's a blessing' to have flourished during COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The executives of a fairly new Houston restaurant reflected on the last seven months, saying it's been a blessing to survive and flourish after having opened just two weeks before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.

Upper Kirby Bistro's Chef Keenan Williams said they look at each day as another grand opening, and since the 75% capacity expansion, they've seen more opportunity.

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"A chance to brand business a little more because when we did open, we were fairly new, so there was some challenges ," said Williams.

With more people dining in, efforts to keep the establishment safe is paramount for restaurants.

Williams said they continue to practice social distancing, perform deep sanitations and enforce the mask policy.

"Every shift, everybody gets tested from a temperature standpoint," Williams said. "We do an exposure questionnaire to make sure no one's been in the wrong place or (has) been exposed."

Sam Governale of Annie's Cafe said they refused to let their guard down.

"We didn't add any more tables," Governale said. "We left it spacious so people are still comfortable coming in."

Governale said they've seen the expansions affect customers.

"It's really just restored a sense of confidence in our guests. People want to celebrate life," he said. "It's a blessing. That's the best way I could put it. I've seen a lot of restaurants close during COVID-19.

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