San Diego restaurants, bars begin to reopen following unexpected closures

Posted at 4:29 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 22:27:39-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After unexpected closures, San Diego restaurants and bars are beginning to reopen amid the uncertainty over the spread of COVID and staffing shortages.

Whistle Stop bartender Chelsea Roop says her regulars are like family. So she's glad to be opened back up after the South Park bar did something once unthinkable -- close around the Christmas holiday.

"We wanted to play everything as safe as possible," she said.

"We had some staff that contracted the COVID virus and we didn't want to put our customers or guests at risk."

San Diego County bars and restaurants, already short-staffed, have been hit even harder with the spread of the omicron variant. Workers are calling out due to possible exposure or positive tests, forcing voluntary closures.

In La Jolla, the Piatti Restaurant has extended a closure that began before New Year's Day to the 13th, while The Marine Room will keep its doors shut until the 12th.

The question all have to ask is, when is the right time to reopen?

At Kensington's Cucina Sorella, Executive Chef Tim Kolanko says the restaurant turned the lights back on Wednesday after a week-long closure due to positive tests among its staff of 10 to 15.

Still, he says the restaurant isn't out of the woods and remains concerned it may have to shut down again.

"But so far everybody's healthy," he said.

"We're taking all the safety protocols very seriously, we're following all the directives. We're contact tracing, we're wearing masks, we're being really diligent with communicating to the staff about the standards and upholding them. And we feel as though as long as we do that, we're doing the best we can and we will stay open."

Kolanko said restaurants tend to hit a lull with the holidays over, so being short-staffed is less impactful on operations.