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Buffets allowed to return to Utah

Welcome back, Utahns.
Welcome back, Utahns.
Photo: Lynn Fagerlie (Getty Images)

We thought buffets were dead forever, just another thing COVID-19 had taken from us. We went through the appropriate mourning rituals. And now we have learned that the state of Utah is bringing them back. What emotional whiplash! What... a curious decision, considering the virus is still non-alive and well and spreading all across the U.S., including Utah.

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Anyway, here are the rules, as outlined by KSL-TV in Salt Lake City:

  • Everyone must wear a mask
  • Plates and utensils must be handed to customers by employees
  • At the food bar, all food must be served by employees, or
  • Customers can serve themselves as long as they use hand sanitizer before every visit and utensils are replaced every 30 minutes
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What could go wrong?

Buffet owners, needless to say, are absolutely thrilled.

“It feels so great. I’ve had customers come up and say ‘thank you, thank you so much’,” said Rene Shuurman, the president of the company that oversees Chuck-A-Rama. “It’s been kind of a hard deal. Our employees have hung in there. We have a company filled with long-term employees.” Chuck-A-Rama has ten locations in Utah; three are currently open, and the other seven will reopen very soon. “The food is still good ole Chuck-A-Rama food,” said Shuurman. “Homemade, as fresh as can be.”

Nick Jiang, who manages King Buffet in Salt Lake City, agrees. King Buffet’s three locations have lost 70% of their business and an estimated $300,000 since the pandemic began.

This is definitely an important consideration, but surely there are better ways to stay open than relying on hand sanitizer?

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Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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And now we have learned that the state of Utah is bringing them back.