LONDON, ONT. -- Londoners have shown an appetite for indoor dining, just one week after entering the province’s third stage of reopening.

“We’re 100 per cent again, even though we’re at half capacity,” explains Tim Owen, owner of The Springs Restaurant.

“Normally, June and July are a little bit slower for restaurants.”

On the first day reopening his dining room, Owens expressed optimism to CTV News.

Seven days later, he has a rapidly growing list of reservations and employees returning to the restaurant.

“I’m so blessed, I’ve been able to bring back 65 to 70 per cent of my staff,” adds Owen.

This week saw the doors reopen at a downtown staple, J-Dee’s Market Grill.

“We had no staff the other day. We opened on Wednesday,” says owner Jim Davies.”We’re getting some of our regulars back, and of course friends and family have been supporting us.”

Reopening restaurants and bars even with reduced capacities came with an inherent health risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, but diners credit the new mandatory mask by-law for boosting consumer confidence.

“It’s air conditioned. It’s nice in here, and its done properly (with) social distancing and everybody has a mask on,” explains Fred Rosbergen while sitting at his table inside J-Dee’s.

For businesses with enough space, patios will continue to be vital to their survival during the coming months, but most restaurant owners in London say their busiest season corresponds with some of the region’s worst weather.

“December is our busy month, if we still have the same restrictions, that’s where we are really going to feel it,” worries Tim Owen.

But many customers, including Sandy Granger, plan to keep supporting their favourite eateries.

“I missed the restaurants, and I want to support the restaurants in the downtown.”