Cape Girardeau restaurants prepare for returning college students

Businesses prepare for returning students

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Students are returning to Southeast Missouri State University this week, which means local restaurants are about to get busier.

Restaurants like Bella Italia and Muy Bueno are ready to serve students again.

Muy Bueno manager Laly Martinez said she’s already seeing college students coming in to eat.

Southeast student and softball player Kaylee Payne said she’s ready to go eat at local restaurants with her teammates.

“If a local place is, like, having problems because of this whole COVID thing, I would be down to help them out,” she said.

Some Cape Girardeau restaurants estimate that students make up about 25 percent of their business.

“They come in for date night or just social visiting and the staff up there usually comes in for meetings.”

Bella Italia owner Mark Dirnberger said he’s excited to welcome students back to his restaurant, even with the changes.

“Our tables are at least 8 feet apart so the social distancing is well in strength here,” he said.

While many tables remain empty, customers are coming back.

“A lot of people have supported us and we appreciate that greatly and hopefully they’ll keep doing that.”

Southeast students will be moving into campus the rest of this week.

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