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Local buffets dealing with COVID-19 challenges

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Americans love things in excess, and food is no different, which is why your local buffet is so popular.

But thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the buffet seems like the last place you’d think of going because so many aspects of it are shared by others.

KX News swung by one of two Pizza Ranch locations in the area and they tell us, everyone is required to use hand sanitizer when they enter.

“On our end, just making sure we’re always changing out spoons, changing out spatulas, whatever utensils we have on the buffet, changing it out, all the time, every time we bring something new out it get a new spoon or spatula out there,” said Pizza Ranch owner Keaton Sedivec.

Sedivec adds they also have gloves and sanitizer at the plate station as an extra layer of safety. He adds for a few weeks they did bring food to customer’s tables but have since stopped that as more CDC restrictions are lifted.

Buffets all across the Bismarck and Mandan area are doing different things to keep their workers as well as you safe. The Chinatown buffet off the Bismarck expressway is a perfect example. They’re requiring their customers to wear masks when they go up to the buffet, and if a customer simply doesn’t have one, they can purchase one for $1.

Peter Shin runs the place. He says his customers are still nervous about touching utensils, so they change them every hour.

“So they’re afraid to touch the handle of the tongs or spoon, so we provide gloves for them, and people need to wear a mask before they can get their food,” said Shin.

KX News also stopped by the China Star Buffet. They were closed completely from March 19 to May 1 but have been offering takeout since. They tell us they don’t necessarily want to open yet, but have to in order to survive.

“Everyone else is opening up, offering dine-in options, so if we don’t open up, I feel like the only option is to close because the customer flow is just not enough to keep the business going especially because our main revenue is the buffet,” said China Star Employee Xi Lin.

Once they do open the buffet, The China Star will also require mask usage and will be changing utensils often. Employees will also be wearing full-face shields for safety. Lines will also guide customers in the order they should be walking and children under the age of 10 will need to be with a parent.

Customers at the China Star Buffet will also have the option of going up to the buffet or having an employee bring their food to their table once buffet operations resume on July 1.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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