Hop Haus Brewing Company is taking its business outside this summer, thanks to a permit temporarily expanding its premises.

The City of Verona Common Council gave the go-ahead at its Tuesday, May 26 meeting for Hop Haus to expand its service area into the parking lot to create a patio space. With the new permit, Hop Haus will be able to better meet the county’s 25% capacity law with social distancing as required in Phase I of the Forward Dane reopening plan.

“With only 25% capacity inside, which makes six tables for us, the parking lot patio will really give us life this summer,” co-owner Sara Hoechst told the Press.

The parking lot is now lined with white fencing and dotted with curricular tables and chairs. Hoechst said Hop Haus staff are working on installing sun shades in the parking lot to provide relief on hot, sunny summer afternoons.

So far, since re-opening to the public on Tuesday, May 26, under Phase I one of the Dane County guidelines, Hoechst said patrons have been sitting six feet apart. She was worried about people not being respectful of others or would be impatient with the new systems put in place to meet county health standards, she said.

“I’m happy to say that since Tuesday we’ve had only patient, respectful patrons who are just glad to be out again and in a space where they can see we’ve put time and effort into taking the precautions seriously,” she said.

Other precautions in place include all employees being masked and gloved, customers being asked to remove their own waste from tables upon leaving and tables being disinfected between each visitor. There will be hand sanitizing stations and all food and drink will be served with single-use disposable cups, plates and silverware.

Ordering will be done online, and customers will order and pay from their tables. All transactions will be handled via debit or credit cards, no cash, Hoechst said.

Hoechst said the only two downsides seem to be people forgetting their table numbers, making it difficult for remembering where orders go, and that people can’t have tabs open with the online ordering system.

But otherwise, the online ordering system has been working and patrons are receiving it well, Hoechst added.

“We felt this was the best and safest way to begin reopening. It limits interactions between patrons and staff, there is no touching of cash, card, or pen required and people aren’t waiting in lines to order,” she said.

The business was offering carryout service during the shutdown, Wednesdays through Saturdays. It has now resumed its regular hours of 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 3-11 p.m. Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Neal Patten, community reporter, can be contacted at neal.patten@wcinet.com.

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