Cafe Brio in Arcata, CA on Feb. 9. is closed for dining indoors but customers are still able to come and pick up orders as well as use outdoor dining while observing COVID-19 regulations. | Photo by Elliott Portillo

Dining during COVID: how restaurants and patrons are adapting

Local businesses and community members struggle in a war on COVID

Local restaurants have had to quickly adapt to COVID regulations. With lowered capacity, mask enforcements and staff cuts, the restaurant business has been highly impacted.

Restaurants have had to consider the risk of reopening and shutting down again, struggling to make ends meet and the financial burden that comes with staying open during COVID.

“I have a personal family friend who owns a small little café, and they are definitely struggling because of all the equipment they bought in order to code for COVID dining, just to have it shut back down,” HSU student Mollie Donaldson said.

With COVID cases rising and the constant release of precautionary measures to be taken as tier levels change, many have wondered if it’s worth dining in and risking getting infected.

“I don’t believe it’s safe to dine inside at restaurants, there are so many risks involved and unknown factors, even with sitting a booth away from someone or a family,” Jade Graham said, “I’ve had my family do a majority of our cooking at home or takeout. Dining out has its risks, not only for customers but employees as well.”

Café Brio in Arcata is one of the many restaurants that have strictly abided by regulations to serve the community.

“We ask that all patrons wear a face covering while on the premises, except when seated at one of our distance compliant tables,” reads the home page of their website. “Hand sanitizer and medical-grade face masks are available at our entry host station. We prioritize the health of our patrons and staff and are currently open to the public outside the building only.”

Many eateries are providing to-go options to support their businesses and community members have come to their aid in keeping their doors open. Whether you’re enjoying a to-go order or a safe and socially distanced meal outside, we can support our local restaurants.

In a time of isolation and lockdown, restaurants can provide a safe outlet to socialize. Everyone doing their part to be safe can help slow the spread of COVID.

“Everything is super crazy right now and that feels like the one thing that makes me feel like things are somewhat normal. Supporting local businesses is important when so many things are up in the air for them,” student Layah Soriano said. “If we’re all taking the necessary precautions, then I think it’s safe to enjoy that bit of normalcy.”

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