Richmond restaurant owner seeks COVID guidance as delta variant spreads

Posted at 11:57 AM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 14:02:02-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- John Taxin has been working for months towards returning some normalcy to his Shockoe Bottom restaurant Bookbinders Seafood and Steakhouse.

“We're back to pretty much 100% capacity, we've removed some tables," Taxin said. "So there is more spacing at the restaurant, but not like it was throughout when the regulations were in place.”

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates mask guidance amid the surge in the delta variant, business and restaurant owners are watching to see if additional COVID-related safety restrictions are put back into place.

“If it's mandated by the state, then I'll do it," Taxin said. "If it's mandated by the government, then I'll do it, I gotta tell you, I would prefer that it was."

The City of Richmond and counties like Chesterfield, Henrico, and Hanover range between moderate and substantial transmission of the virus, according to the CDC.
Other Central Virginia counties, like Amelia, Prince George, and New Kent are in the high category.

The increase in COVID-19 cases has prompted Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and his administration to review the new CDC guidelines. He is expected to update recommendations "in the next couple of days."

"We're studying this, we're looking at the CDC guidelines," Northam told reporters at an event in Richmond on Wednesday. "And one of the things that I feel the responsibility for, as you know, we've given accurate and up-to-date information as best we can to keep all Virginians safe."

Taxin said he believes new guidelines could reduce capacity at his restaurant.

“We had each room; we took out one row of tables in the middle. So, I think we're gonna have to go back to doing that," Taxin said. "In fact, before this call, I was talking with my general manager about taking precautionary steps.”

While Taxin awaited guidance from the governor, he said he hoped there would be mandates across the board and not enforcement left up to each business.

“It'd be nice if there was some, some guidelines that they pushed for all restaurants to enforce. So we could all be on the same page," Taxin said.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.