SAN DIEGO – Restaurants in San Diego are beginning to open back up again for table service.
It’s been about two months since restaurants were allowed to serve customers at the tables and counters on the premises, and welcoming them back is no small feat.
“It was actually really difficult to prepare and to kind of anticipate how much inventory we needed,” said Adriana Ferreyra, the manager for Rudford’s in North Park, which opened up for table service Thursday morning. “Also, the staff — that was a really difficult thing because you don’t want to over-prepare or under-prepare.”
Ferreyra said the restaurant had to let go of the majority of their staff when the city ordered it to close in March, but they’ve now been able to bring everyone back.
“We were waiting for this moment for so long, and the fact that it’s finally here — it’s really exciting!” Ferreyra said.
Nearby in Kensington, French restaurant Bleu Boheme prepared to open its doors after nearly ten weeks with about 50% of its original staff. Owner Ken Irvine said some staff are on standby depending on how things go, but a few appear not so eager to return since they’re receiving big unemployment checks.
“With the unemployment insurance and the extra $600 bucks a week, especially for the younger people who don’t know that that might be a threat if they get offered their job back and they don’t want to come back because of that, they run the risk of losing it. Which you kinda wanna show them that’s maybe not the best idea,” Irvine said.
It’s a side effect of the Coronavirus pandemic multiple businesses are facing.
Still, excitement was in the air Thursday as restaurant staff prepared to welcome the first customers back. New health and safety measures are in place, including hand sanitizer stations throughout the restaurant and socially-distanced seating.
“It’s a learning curve here,” Irvine said. “It’s a steep one and you’ve just got to do it day by day.”
Many in the restaurant industry acknowledge they’ve taken a huge hit with the coronavirus but are feeling all the more determined to adjust and persevere.
“We’ve been open since 1949,” said Ferreyra. “We knew when they told us that we had to shut down, we knew that we had to stay open and we would do whatever it takes.”