Buffets, salad bars reopen in Snohomish County

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Despite a rise in coronavirus cases, buffets and salad bars are back open in Snohomish County but with some strict rules.

At Mahal Indian Cuisine in Everett, Shehzad Alam is being extra cautious.

Like so many restaurant owners in Snohomish County, he’s thrilled the lunch buffet will “feed” into his profits again.

Yet, when it comes to the coronavirus, he’s as worried as anyone else.

“Five customers are going to come in and touch the same spoon, so there is a possibility of COVID or whatever type of disease,” he said.

Alam made the decision to hold off on reopening his lunch buffet for several more days.

When the buffet selection of butter chicken and chicken vindaloo come back, heaping portions of it will be served by employees only.

Customers will be banned from serving themselves at Alam’s buffet.

“We’re going to be letting (customers) know that this is how things are going to work now, onwards,” Alam said.

As part of the governor’s buffet and salad bar rules, every restaurant must offer plenty of sanitizer.

They also have to have sneeze guards over the food and make sure customers are social distancing.

“There’s a possibility of transmission, so this thing can block it,” said Alam, referring to the new sneeze guards above his buffet.

For those reasons, customers told KIRO 7 they were willing to eat at buffets but with safety in mind.

“If they’re sanitizing well, I don’t see why not,” said Miranda Goldshmidt, a customer.

“If they’re taking the proper precautions to save people from being sick, then I’ll be more than happy to support these companies,” customer Grace Klinger said.

It’s good news for Alam, and so many others, after several money-starved months.