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Marie’s Italian reopening Monday with new hours and new protocols

A popular Cumming restaurant will reopen its dining room next week, but the owners have made some changes.

“I thought it was time,” Karen Smith, co-owner of Marie’s Italian Deli, said Thursday shortly after announcing the reopening of her restaurant. “Yesterday was two months of doing curbside, and the community has been amazing. They've been so supportive of us. I've been able to keep all my full-time people working and half of my part-time people.”

She said the new hours will 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the restaurant will stay closed on Sunday. Karen said patrons will also notice a few changes when they walk inside. There are now three cashier stations, and half the tables are blocked off, she said.

“We kind of had a group meeting with everyone that's working here, everyone involved,” Karen said. “And we were talking to other restaurants to see what they're doing. It's kind of becoming a little secret society now. All us restaurants, we all talk to each other.”

Her son Matthew, who’s also a co-owner, said it’s going to be a bit different, but the goal is to make sure everyone is comfortable and safe.

Credit: Karen Smith

“We're still going to have 60 seats. It's not going to be slammed like it was every single day, but I want people to feel like they can still come in and have a good chance of not waiting very long for a table. We don't want that to drive away people,” he said. “This is going to be a crazy week preparing for Monday, but we're taking this incredibly seriously and we're willing to take suggestions on anything. Our customers' safety is our top priority above all else.”

“We figured out a system. We're going to leave our backroom closed, but that will be kind of our takeout area,” Karen said. “Our front door will be our entrance only. Our new bar area, that will be the exit door which will be exit only. We will only be able to run at half capacity. we can have 30 people in our main dining room and 30 people in our new area. We're going to block off a few of our booths.”

A new cleaning solution is also being used to wipe down the eating areas, she said.

“We're just going to do the very best that we can. We've been planning for this for two months because we knew eventually we would be able to open again,” Karen said. “They're baking right now. Our bakery is humming. It smells so good in here. They're getting ready for the big Monday. We will have a full menu and everything back.”

“We're going to figure it out just like everybody else,” Matthew said. “I don't think everybody has fully grasped it yet. This is going to be a heck of a learning curve, but hopefully, we can keep this up until this whole thing is over with, regardless of how long it lasts.”

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