Northwest Indiana restaurants, barbershops navigate new normal amid COVID-19 pandemic

HAMMOND, Ind. (WLS) -- There are three Big Daddy's BBQ restaurants in Lake County, Indiana, all have been operating with takeout and delivery and limited hours.

Those hours will continue even with the easing of restrictions in the county, allowing restaurants to open up their dining rooms at 50% capacity.

"We are just going to take it slow like we have been doing," Gordon Biffle with Big Daddy's BBQ said. "I don't expect a large crowd. I think everybody is going to take baby steps."

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Shipwreck Bar & Grill isn't planning to welcome dine-in customers for a couple of weeks.

"For the safety of our customers and our staff we are going to give it another week," Alexandra Hobby of Shipwreck Bar & Grill said. "I think that after Memorial Day we are going to open up our patio and continue carry-out and delivery and then on the first open full-force."

Also in stage two, barbershops, hair salons and nail salons may open by appointment only. Legends Barbershop owner Chris Flores is anxious to see how it goes.

"It's more like a trial run. Let's see how this goes, and if I see some stuff as an owner I am going to tweak it to make it safe for all of us," Flores said.

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Indiana houses of worship are able to hold some of their first in-person services Sunday amid the ongoing pandemic.

Indiana state Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, is encouraging everyone to keep in mind that the threat of COVID-19 hasn't gone away. He says business owners should take all the necessary precautions. He also said Indiana has a new program to help them provide personal protective equipment for their workers.

"Me, being a resident and also representing the city of Gary, Gary as well as Lake County has one of the larger number of cases in the state," Melton said.

Flores held a Zoom call with his barbers to discuss the new protocols for the shop.

"I got family. I got seven barbers here. Five of us have families. I tell them come clean your stations because we don't want to take that stuff home to our families," he said.
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