Santa Barbara Wants Restaurants to Expand Into Sidewalks, Streets, and Parking Lots

••• “Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo and her business advisory task force have outlined a plan for re-opening, in an effort to convince the governor to allow local restaurants and businesses to open sooner than the rest of the state. […] ‘Restaurants and bars should be allowed to expand their operations outside of their premises into closed streets and/or parking areas to facilitate increased physical distancing protocols,’ Murillo said.” (If you’re unpersuaded about the benefits of being outside rather than in, read this.) —Noozhawk

••• There’s also the possibility of closing 13 blocks of State Street to cars, so pedestrians and cyclists can use the street while businesses can expand into the entire sidewalk. —KEYT

••• The state released guidelines for restaurant dining rooms to reopen, “to be phased-in slowly, starting in counties least affected by the coronavirus pandemic.” The guidelines include: “Encourage reservations to allow for time to disinfect restaurant areas and provide guidance via digital platforms if possible to customers for physical distancing while at the restaurant; Consider allowing dine-in customers to order ahead of time to limit the amount of time spent in the establishment; Ask customers to wait in their cars or away from the establishment while waiting to be seated. If possible, alert patrons through their mobile phones when their table is ready to avoid touching and use of ‘buzzers.'” But there are a lot more, as you can read in the link above. My favorite might be: “Implement measures to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet between workers and customers.” Also of note: “Limit the number of patrons at a single table to a household unit or patrons who have asked to be seated together. People in the same party seated at the same table do not have to be six feet apart. All members of the party must be present before seating and hosts must bring the entire party to the table at one time.” Eater

••• UPDATE 5/13: The L.A. Times Essential California newsletter—a useful rundown of state news—had a great synopsis of the proposed changes.

As you walk in, you’ll immediately notice some changes made to facilitate physical distancing. Think fewer tables and no seating within six feet of an employee work area. There might be floor markings or signs letting you know where to walk or stand, and there will probably be some kind of barrier or partition at the host stand or cash register. The bar area, if there is one, will be closed to customers.

Expect to sit down at an empty table. The guidelines dictate that restaurants discontinue presetting tables with napkins, cutlery and glassware. After you sit down, you’ll receive your utensils rolled in a napkin, handed to you by an employee who recently washed their hands. Anything that would otherwise stay on the table through multiple seatings, like napkin holders, salt and pepper shakers and condiment bottles, will also be gone.

You might peruse a digital menu on your phone or be handed a disposable menu, if you didn’t place your order ahead of time. Any nondisposable menus will have to be properly disinfected before and after each use.

The host, server, busser and food runner will all be wearing masks, as will be required of anyone who comes within six feet of customers. Anyone handling items that have been touched by customers will be wearing disposable gloves. Small talk and a lengthy recounting of the specials will probably be things of the past, as all restaurant workers will be asked to minimize time spent within six feet of customers.

When you look around the room, you won’t see anything that might be touched by multiple customers or that would require customers from different tables to congregate in the same area. No self-service water pitcher or coffee, no soda machine. No condiment or utensil caddies. And certainly not any self-service buffets or salad bars. Pool tables, vending machines, arcade games and the like will also be gone, or at least marked as off-limits.

You can also bid adieu to dessert carts and any kind of table-side preparation, be it made-to-order guacamole or Dal Rae’s legendary Caesar salad in Pico Rivera.

After the meal finishes, takeout containers will be an entirely do-it-yourself situation. If the restaurant you were at is a tablecloth kind of place, the table will be stripped after you leave by an employee wearing gloves. He or she will then transport the dirty linens out of the dining area in a sealed bag.

••• Unfortunately, the county fails the state’s criteria for reopening more businesses because of the outbreak at the Lompoc prison, which the county has no authority to deal with. So “the Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday to send a letter asking the governor to allow the county to separate community cases from inmate cases, and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblymembers Monique Limón and Jordan Cunningham are lobbying for the same. Hart also said that the community can make an impact by sending letters to the governor himself, sending letters of support to the aforementioned state legislators, and voicing their sentiments at the Board of Supervisors meetings.” —Independent

••• “Business booming for county’s first delivery-only cannabis service,” InDaCut in Lompoc. —KEYT

••• Noozhawk checks in with Botanik in Summerland, which has a new greenhouse.

••• Newsmakers interviews ever-bloviating Republican house candidate Andy Caldwell.


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