San Mateo County to Adhere to Indoor Dining Ban

On Saturday, places San Francisco and San Mateo County got moved the most restrictive purple-tier, the rank indicating an immense spread of the coronavirus within the area. Due to the decision, the state expects establishments to close in the meantime to help contain the resurgence of COVID-19. In the Bay Area, San Mateo County would become the last one to close its restaurant doors to customers for indoor dining. 

Due to the county getting moved to the purple tier, the state’s legislation would only permit San Mateo County’s restaurants and eateries to offer indoor dining until Sunday at 12:01 am. After the said deadline, the county would prohibit its residents from staying and eating in public diners. Along with the indoor dining restrictions, establishments like museums, churches, and gyms would remain closed until the situation gets better.

The Concerns and Struggles of Restaurant Managers Regarding the Dining Ban

In response to the newly implemented guidelines, restaurant owners expressed their worries and concerns regarding the county’s situation. According to Wine Bar’s and Barrel Bistro’s manager Alican Uctepe, indoor dining prohibition would cause them to shut down their businesses for good. He also added that getting five or six tables filled a day is not enough for them to pay for their daily business expenses. Furthermore, Uctepe also lamented the possibility that a lot of restaurant owners like him could not survive longer to keep their businesses open in the middle of the current worldly crisis.

Moreover, Uctepe also disclosed that he had made many changes due to COVID-19’s severe impacts on the state’s economic status. He revealed that her restaurant reduced the number of tables provided from 20 to 10 and also cut his staff member count by more than 50%. 

Despite setting up at least ten tables outside of his restaurant, Uctepe doubts that anyone would stop by to stay and eat a warm meal due to the winter season going on currently. Uctepe, like many other business owners, put extra efforts into offering outdoor dining by providing heat lamps for the cold and placing other open-air utensils. Whenever it rains, the outside dining service would not work.

Uctepe predicted that if the indoor dining ban would last for one or two months in effectivity, at least 80% of the county’s mom-and-pop restaurants would fail and close down entirely. Not wishing for it to happen, Uctepe takes his request to the government to help them in this time of crisis, worrying that restaurant managers like himself would still have to pay for everything, including taxes and rental spaces.

Apart from the indoor dining ban, one more thing that further concerns restaurant owners are the implementation of curfew hours within the county. Starting on Monday, San Francisco and San Mateo County would prohibit businesses from opening and people from going outside. The agreed hours would begin from ten in the evening until five in the morning daily. The majority of the Bay Area’s counties follow the rule except for Marin, which moved in the red tier instead of purple.

Before the new curfew regulations, San Mateo’s branch of the food chain Pacific Catch only permits 25% indoor dining capacity for its customers. The said diner operates around the Bay Area with at least ten seafood restaurants, which used to serve around 200 people daily. As of the present, they only offer 17 outdoor tables, and consumers need to squeeze around with the table availability while only getting warmth from the restaurant’s heat lamps.

Pacific manager Erik expressed his sentiment regarding the chain’s new dining setup. According to him, the staff members are all doing their best to keep themselves safe while making the business thrive despite the pandemic. Moreover, Erik felt relieved that the restaurant hasn’t laid anyone off yet and manages to keep its crew members paid to survive in these trying times.