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Update on Reopening of Indoor Dining



Recent news about bars and schools in various parts of the world closing once again due to another wave of Covid-19 have put everyone on edge. It shows how fragile reopening can be and how easily things can be shut down once cases increase again. Tuesday’s update on California's color coded equity metrics showed that 4 of the 9 Bay Area counties were still not ready for reopening.


While San Francisco has been in tier three for more than one week and indoor dining allowed up to 25% capacity, many restaurants have opted not to open their dining rooms. Some are reluctant to rehire staff, in case the city once again falls into a lower tier. According to the California Department of Public Health, if a county's data worsens for two weeks, it will be moved back into a more restrictive tier. In San Francisco’s case, that would mean shutting down indoor dining once again.


Despite a general reluctance of restaurants to reopen their dining rooms, customers are ready to return to dining indoors. But that doesn’t mean they’ve thrown caution to the wind. Diners have been doing their own research and seeking out establishments that have lauded health and safety procedures on social media. Photos depicting staff sanitizing the indoor environment and carrying out cleaning protocol have received positive feedback and some new business.


However, many restaurant owners are still taking a wait and see approach. They won’t consider opening their dining rooms until their counties reach tier one, with fewer than one new case and a positive test rate lower than 2%, before even considering indoor dining. Meanwhile, they must contend with outdoor dining, take-out and delivery options with minimal staff.


Many foodservice outlets are also waiting for neighboring offices, businesses and schools to reopen before they expand their services. Before the pandemic, much of their customer base depended on traffic from the neighborhood. Without adjacent businesses to support them, it’s just not practical to open their dining rooms at this time. Contact Restaurant Design Concepts to find out more about new reopening guidelines and ways to get your restaurant ready for indoor dining.