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Social distancing not in way of Houlton Farms Dairy Bar’s season opening

HOULTON, Maine — Social distancing practices were in full effect, and the weather barely topped 40 degrees, but people flocked to Houlton Farms Dairy Bar for its season opening on Friday.

Mary Lincoln, owner of the renowned dairy bar, deemed the turnout a success, even as people practiced social distancing to avoid potentially spreading the coronavirus that has caused a worldwide pandemic.

“It’s different. It takes some time getting used to,” Lincoln said. “But it’s gone really well.”

Originally, the stand had been set up to be converted into a drive-thru service rather than a walk-up window service. But with recent changes made by Gov. Janet Mills that permit people to stand outside so long as they kept six feet apart, the dairy bar was able to do a walk-through instead, allowing them to offer the full range of their menu.

“They’ve been very good about lining where they’re supposed to, staying six feet apart,” Lincoln said. “A lot of people didn’t have masks on, but all of our employees do.”

Being able to serve customers directly instead of drive-thru also allows Lincoln to keep extra staff to make the product, letting lines move quickly and smoothly.

But they also must practice proper sanitation. Employees are all donned in masks and gloves, and must change their gloves often. Employees in charge of handling money are not allowed to touch anything else. And counters, door handles and anything else that may be touched is constantly wiped down and sanitized throughout the day.

Customers lined up across the side of the building, everyone following the social distancing parameters of staying six feet apart. Many took their orders back to their cars, with only one member of the family getting out to order for everyone in the vehicle.

Cindy Adams and her two children Jillian and Nicholas were among the first to be served, as the dairy bar opened at noon on Friday.

“We were out riding our bikes, when I realized the bar was opening today,” said Adams. “So we decided to come and have some [ice cream].”

“It’s going good so far,” said Lincoln. “Like I said, it’s different for everybody. But they got the signs out telling people where to stand and all that, and we haven’t had one problem.”

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