200327 Ricatonis Redbuild 2

Owner Rick Elliott explains the changes he recently made at Ricatoni's in downtown Florence to help keep his customers and employees safe from the coronavirus. [MATT MCKEAN/TIMESDAILY]

FLORENCE — Rick Elliott didn't waste any time addressing the situation facing his downtown Florence restaurants as the coronavirus pandemic crept closer and closer to the Shoals.

The day Gov. Kay Ivey asked all dine-in restaurants to close, Elliot began working on a new take-out window at Ricatoni's Italian Grill.

"Where before 95% of our business was dine-in, now it's all carry out, all of it," he said.

He didn't have to buy any materials since he had some onhand, and a contractor/handyman friend was able to complete the project.

"Everything else was just a function of moving phone lines and the computer system," he said.

Employees had to learn some new routines, but it seems to be working as several people were ordering takeout Friday afternoon.

"I've had 25 years to figure out Ricatoni's," he said. "I had three hours to figure this out."

He's also added a pair of outside portable toilets outside for customers located between Ricatoni's and City Hardware.

Elliott thanked the city of Florence for being understanding of the situation facing his and other businesses.


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