Some Restaurants Re-Opening in Charleston

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WSAZ) -- Some restaurants are finally re-opening, days into the water crisis.

Though they still can't use running water, many are finding other ways to make it work.

The smell of food is once again filling the Chili's at Charleston Town Center.

"So how's your steak cooked, the way you like it," Chili's General Manager, Lesa Crouch asked a customer.

That question is a welcome change for people like Travis Caruthers and his family.

"I was ready to sit down and eat, my belly was growling," said Caruthers.

That hunger is something many people can identify with. The majority of Charleston's restaurants still aren't open.

"We were supposed to go to Longhorn, but of course they're closed right now," said Caruthers.

After meeting some strict health department guidelines, Chili's is, for the most part, back in business.

"We have paper products, we have cups, I had 1,000 pounds of ice delivered from Home City Ice in Milton," said Crouch.

The restaurant is serving a limited menu with canned sodas.

They're also using gallon jugs and bottled water to make it work.

"They shipped us a whole semi-truck of bottled water and gallons of water," said Crouch.

On top of that, the restrooms are also set up for use without running water.

"Just to make sure, one of the guidelines was to make sure we turned off the water at the bottom of the sink," said Crouch.

Kanawha County health officials said they're working to re-open as many as 1,500 permit holding businesses.

"We must at the same time, start to reduce the damage that's being caused to our community and individuals," said Kanawha and Putnam Co. Health Officer, Dr. Rahul Gupta.

In the meantime, people like Caruthers said the changes are just fine, if it means a steak dinner will hit the table soon.

Chili's managers said the closure was hurtful to business.

However, they said employees were able to work at Huntington and Beckley locations in the meantime.

In order for a restaurant to reopen during the water ban, it must submit a form to the health department and receive approval.

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