Some Wausau area restaurants open, while sudden lifting of order leaves others waiting

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Right now restaurants in the Wausau area are navigating how and when to reopen.

Owner Jodi Lacalamita answers the phone at Sam's Pizza (WSAW Photo).

Newschannel 7 spoke with about two dozen restaurants. The majority remain closed until at least the end of this week. Several were opening Monday, and one that was open for the weekend declined to comment on camera.

The dining room at Sam’s Pizza in Schofield is open. They made sure to be ready for when they got the green light.

“This whole time, we wanted to be ready, and we were focusing on that. So when we got the go-ahead to open up our dining room, we were ready to go,” said Jodi Lacalamita, the owner.

Lacalamita says while she may be ready, customers aren’t yet.

“We had one this weekend, and I said, ‘Oh you guys can come in and dine in,’ and he said, ‘Well, my wife’s a little leery yet.’ And we understand that as well too,” she said.

She says pizza was already good as a takeout and delivery item. So having the dining room open isn’t as vital as it may be to other businesses.

“I think some people are just being cautious, which I would totally agree with, you know, it’s really your own comfort level,” she said.

They’re social distancing tables and cleaning more, looking to the Marathon County Health Department and CDC for guidance. Still, not many showed up to sit down this weekend.

“We never had it where it was packed and people had to wait to be seated or we had to social distance them that way. Slowly but surely,” she said.

The surprise lifting of the safer at home order left 2510 Restaurant unprepared.

“I’ve got a totally destroyed dining room because we were going to be closed until the 26th, we made plans to be closed until the 26th, and I will be closed until the 26th because I’m trying to do some remodeling here,” said owner Roy Heilmeier.

He’s now quickly creating a plan for when they do open next Tuesday.

“I think we’re anticipating… it’s not going to come back right away. So we don’t need as many items on our menu, do the items we have the best you can,” he said.

Heilmeier has had difficulty getting answers about business loans.
“It wasn’t just me. There are a lot of people going through this. Will some of these loans be forgiven? That’s still up in the air. Depends on the fine print, who you talk to,” he said, adding that many restaurant owners he knows are dealing with the same confusion.

To learn more about their reopening, visit their website .