Restaurants snuffed out by pandemic

Posted at 6:13 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 23:00:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego restaurants are being snuffed out by the pandemic.

Experts say the dining scene will be drastically different when the state reopens.

Souplantation announced it was closing for good Thursday, "and I am afraid that is going to replicate, ripple through the industry throughout the country," President of the Food and Beverage Association of San Diego Stephen Zolezzi said.

He said the Paycheck Protection Program comes with too many strings for local restaurants.

"It could really turn out to be a weapon to use against us," Zolezzi said.

He said Insurance companies are not paying out policies that protect restaurants under these circumstances.

The deck stacked against restaurants forcing them to close.

Sunrise Cafe in Vista posted on Facebook May 1st "WOW! Your pour of love and support has been overwhelming!! As we have been offered some financial help, we feel at this time it best for us to stay with our decision to close. As hard, as this is for all of us, we need to continue to move forward. Thank you for your understanding."

Days later on May 6th, Diane Powers, owner of Casa Sol Y Mar in Carmel Valley, posted "We have made the very difficult decision to close the doors of Casa Sol y Mar in Carmel Valley.

We are so thankful to everyone who dined with us over the last seven years and look forward to welcoming you back at our other locations soon. Casa Guadalajara in Old Town, Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad and Casa de Pico in La Mesa all have the warm, festive atmospheres you have come to know, and each have unique, yet similar menus you are sure to enjoy. You will also see the faces of many of Casa Sol y Mar’s wonderful employees at these other locations.

Given the current economic climate and uncertainty of the long-term effect of COVID-19, the decision was not made easily, and we will miss you very much.

Sending wishes of health and safety to all."

Anthony's Fish Grotto was teetering, planning to close Saturday to wait out the storm, but a swell of support changed the tide. Owner Craig Ghio said they will reopen their retail fish market and take-out Wednesday.

Zolezzi said there is hope, some restaurants leveraged social media to bring in orders.

"They're doing a great big promotion for Mother's Day," Zolezzi said, referencing Nicolosi's Italian Restaurant in San Carlos.

The California Restaurant Association in collaboration with California’s public health officers and environmental health directors created a set of recommendations for reopening to Governor Gavin Newsom Wednesday.

The guidelines included creating space between tables, or putting up a barrier between tables, and limiting tables to 10 people or less. It also suggests employees have their temperature taken when they come to work, wear facial coverings and maintain a strict cleaning schedule.

As for the public, it suggests customers where a mask when not at their table and using contactless payment.