Restaurant prepares for indoor opening as the rain falls

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Signs and sanitation stations all over Black Sheep in Charleston are just part of the reopening plan Kevin Madison came up with. The restaurant chose to open outdoor seating Monday, but the weather didn't do them any favors.

Black Sheep, a Charleston restaurant is reopening and dealing with realities of the new changes, including the weather.

"The weather definitely has ... it's just kind of another slap," Madison said.

He and his crew were putting up what he calls suns sails to block the elements.

"It really does work for rain as long as it's not a torrential downpour," Madison said. "I mean, they do a pretty good job."

Black Sheep is gearing up to open indoor dining after they have been closed since March.

"You have to come back and you have to come back correct, come back safe," Madison said.

Madison worked with his staff to come up with a detailed plan for employees like Summer Lee who said, for her, it has been a long road.

"I was on unemployment for the two months then got rehired, so it's been quite a process," Lee said.

Madison said employees, including Lee who's worked there two years, are like family.

Black Sheep is rolling in employees in three groups of 12, and they're doing temperature checks everyday.

"So we can monitor health conditions introduce them in groups of 12 at a time every two weeks," Madison said.

Several precautions have been put in place with social distancing marks on the floor, text/call protocols for customers waiting on tables, employees wearing masks, limiting customer contact, and only one person will be allowed in the bathroom at a time.

The biggest change of all: Black Sheep hired what they call a 'sanitarian" who will be at the restaurant at all times.

"It's like when the health department inspects your restaurant, we have one of those people on staff now," Madison said.

That person's job will be to open the door for guests, wash doorknobs, benches, door handles, and they will be the only person to pick up dirty dishes.

With the rain here, Lee said it has been a rough few days.

"We'll serve them in the rain if they want to," she said.

Black Sheep is hoping customers start to trickle in Thursday.

"I hope people come out, we are really trying our best to serve the community well and be safe, and we appreciate everyone's support," Lee said.

In additon, Black Sheep has been getting creative with a brewery they operate, bottling more beers than were available before. On Thursday, if you would like to give back to those working tirelessly on the front line, you can buy a growler fill (a beer container) for a first-responder or health care worker.