With increased lockdown protocols in California, residents in the Bay Area find it challenging to look for restaurants or establishments that allow outdoor dining.
Officials have not announced when the strict procedures in Napa, Solano, and San Mateo counties would end. The three regions refused to follow suit when the rest of the Bay Area went into more restrictive guidelines. They are only waiting for the state-imposed lockdown that implements more severe protocols when intensive care units in a region drop below 15%.
The new guidance would include the temporary ban of outdoor dining similar to indoor dining. However, while the Bay Area is still above the threshold at 16.7% of ICU capacity as of Sunday, residents could still find some places that allow them to eat outside.
On Saturday, restaurant customers continued to order meals despite the freezing weather that enveloped the region. In downtown Napa, you could see Jax White Mule Diner customers enjoying their food at 14 tables placed outside the restaurant. However, many people do not know when such freedom would continue.
The managing partner of Jax White Mule Diner, Gregory Filippi, said, “We’re open today. Until they tell us to shut, whenever that happens, we’re open.” In a statement, Flippi said its personnel were continuing to provide their services and just waiting for orders by state officials.
Filippi said that it seemed like no one had any idea what was going to happen next and noted they were just doing what they could to maintain business. The diner continued to serve its trademark beignets, which cost $10 for a set of 5, until officials tell them to stop operating.
In Calistoga, Lovina restaurant general manager Michaley Adams said the establishment is forced to switch to only providing take-out service starting on Monday. She said, “It’s definitely difficult, and we’re losing a lot of sleep.” Adams added it was better to be proactive against the virus than just waiting around for an order.
Adams said Lovina restaurant lowered its price from $31 to $27 for its signature pork and beef Bolognese to attract more customers. She added, “Right now, our goal is just to break even and to survive.” She also noted their goal of keeping as many of their employees working for as long as they could.
Carneros Resort managing director Edward Costa on Highway 29 said he expected that the hotel’s two restaurants would stop allowing outdoor dining soon. He said guests would be forced to pick up their $47 orders of bagged smoked duck and back to their hotel rooms.
At Farm restaurant and Boon Fly Cafe, there were at least 32 outdoor tables available during the weekend. Costa said he added extra servers because the walk from the tables to the kitchen was much longer than usual, and to avoid customers from waiting too long on their orders, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Costa said, “We expect outdoor dining to end soon. We’re very close right now, and obviously, things are going to get worse.” He added that during the summer, they were still seeing the normal number of customers but that it was now down to 25%.
San Mateo’s Jack’s Restaurant general manager, Samantha Oei, said she would continue serving at the restaurant’s seven sidewalk tables and ten patio tables until the state orders them that they are not allowed to do so anymore. She noted the staff were working really hard to keep the establishment clean and safe.
Oei said in addition to cleanliness, they required customers to wear masks, and they would give one free to those who do not have one. The restaurant requires them to wear coverings at all times except for when they are eating. Oei said, “The restaurant industry is always a difficult one to be in, and COVID makes it harder.”