What a restaurant dinner will look like when you can eat in California restaurants again – Orange County Register

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With devastating revenue losses mounting since the dinner bans in mid-March to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom provided reopening guidelines for restaurants on Tuesday, May 12.

  • Lazy Dog Managing Director Patrick Weyland is posting signs around the Downey Restaurant on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 for the reopening when permitted. Customers are warned not to enter if they have a fever, cough, or symptoms of a cold or flu. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Wil Dee, center, owner of Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar in Orange, with Greg Bayer, left, bar manager, and Craig Brady, right, executive chef, watch California Governor Gavin Newsom speak at a Coronavirus update at noon in which guidelines for Restaurant-dining reopening was discussed on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Lazy Dog Managing Director Patrick Weyland is posting signs around the Downey Restaurant on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 for the reopening when permitted. Customers are warned not to enter if they have a fever, cough, or symptoms of a cold or flu and to keep a distance of 6 feet. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Lazy Dog Managing Director Patrick Weyland is posting signs around the Downey Restaurant on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 for the reopening when permitted. Customers are warned not to enter if they have a fever, cough, or symptoms of a cold or flu. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Wil Dee, owner of Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar in Orange, watches California Governor Gavin Newsom speak during a noon coronavirus update in which guidelines to reopen eateries were discussed on Tuesday, May 12 2020. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Wil Dee, right, owner of Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar in Orange, with Craig Brady, left, executive chef and Greg Bayer, center, bar manager, watch California Governor Gavin Newsom speak during an update of the coronavirus at noon in which the guidelines for Restaurant-dining reopening was discussed on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • A woman walks past the Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar in Orange on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. California Governor Gavin Newsom spoke during a noon coronavirus update in which guidelines to reopen dining venues were discussed. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

The bad news? No date has been set for the reopening of Southern California restaurants. The good news? Newsom provided a 12-page document with some incredibly specific safety guidelines to use when reopening.

Among them:

• Servers must wear masks

• Provide disposable menus and make menus available in digital form for customers to view on a personal electronic device, if possible

• No shared food condiments such as salt and pepper shakers, no bread baskets, salad bars or shared buffets

• No food preparation and presentation at the table, such as food selection carts, conveyor belts or guacamole preparation

• No mints, candies, snacks or toothpicks after the meal for guests, but they can be provided individually with the check

• No self-service soda or frozen yoghurt dispensers and no self-service cutlery stations

• No common tables where you dine with strangers

Lots of guidelines happen behind the scenes with recommendations for checking employee temperatures, rules for hand washing, gathering for breaks, and more. Local restaurateurs said they already follow many of these rules.

When food service was no longer an option, Mel’s Drive-In locations in Hollywood, West Hollywood and Sherman Oaks returned to the 1950s with classic car shuttle service, said Colton Weiss, owner of Mel’s Drive. In and grandson of Mel. himself.

“I wouldn’t say we’re doing the numbers that we used to do, but we’re making the most of it,” he said.

Weiss said he and his staff were taking all suggested precautions, including wearing masks, more rigorous sanitation and cleaning practices, including washing hands and wiping down frequently touched surfaces.

But the guidelines that have created the most buzz are the ones that affect the customer experience.

Ed Lee, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, along with his brothers Wing Lam and Mingo Lee, said they solved the mask issue with waiters wearing clear plastic face shields. This way, customers will always be able to see the staff welcoming them with a friendly smile.

But new rules banning self-service mean salsa bars are a thing of the past. “Yeah, more salsa bars for a while,” said Ed Lee.

As for the fries and salsa, there will be no help station yourself. Everything will be brought to your table, Lee said. “Once it’s on the table, it’s up to you. Whether you want to share fries and salsa, fries and onion rings. Oh my God. This is all going to be a bust for a while until people step into a comfort zone… The public has some responsibility on their own to come in with a mask, take off their mask, eat their lunch, put their mask back on , sanitize your hands, go back to the car.

Some partitions between customers and staff will be needed, but JC Clow, founding partner of The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, which has locations in Tustin and Newport Beach, said his restaurants have already planned to go further, in installing clear dividers between cabins and to separate tables.

Clow said they started considering changes in March, knowing state and local health officials would impose further measures

“We heard about a few hotels in Vegas like the Wynn and the Aria and wanted to follow suit,” he said.

The Vineyard Rose restaurant at the South Coast Winery Resort & Spa in Temecula just reopened for take out last week. Jeff Carter, president of Carter Hospitality which oversees wineries operations, hoped customers would adopt the guidelines.

“Not all customers feel the urgency to adhere to the guidelines and may object to our employees following them. We hope guests will be understanding and patient as we go through the reopening phases.”

Ross Pangilinan, who runs the ReMix Kitchen Bar, believes many of the new guidelines are achievable for his Long Beach restaurant, including reconfiguring his space so tables are six feet apart. “We would be at about 50% of our capacity, but we’re going to do our best to be able to do that. But how long could we last doing this? he said. “We still have the rent to pay, insurance, taxes, all that. It’s going to be hard ; it’s going to be a challenge.

For Ivan Vasquez, who owns an Oaxacan restaurant named Madre in Torrance and another of the same name near Culver City, the new guidelines will mean additional expenses during an already difficult economic time. But despite everything, it is ready to do whatever it takes to fully reopen its doors.

“I think everything will be better than what we have now,” he said.

Editors Richard Guzman and Kelli Skye Fadroski contributed to this story.


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