NAPA (CBS SF) — Dishes were being served up at restaurants in Napa County Wednesday night as it became the first county in the San Francisco Bay Area to allow dine-in service.
Gov. Gavin Newsom approved the expanded Phase 2 reopening because the number of cases of COVID-19 was so low in the county. As of Wednesday, Napa had just 94 cases since the outbreak began and three deaths.
“We saw it coming and guessed today would be the day,” said Terry Letson, the Owner of Fume. “We were one of the first to open because we anticipated and we are ready.”
Letson has been waiting for for nearly 2 months and on Wednesday his vigil came to an end — his chef was back in the kitchen cooking up customers favorites.
“We’ve been doing a lot of take out but it’s nice to be able to sit here with a meal and glass of wine,” said dine-in customer Omar Cruz.
Letson went against county guidelines by actually opening 10 days ago, but then was forced to shutdown.
“It was relief, even in the smallest way,” he said “I was lobbying for any percentage any opening to get us back going.”
Letson estimated business has dropped by more 60 percent during the pandemic shelter in place. Fume’ received a Paycheck Protection Program loan which will continue to help as the restaurant operates on limited capacity.
The reopening of restaurants has also given wineries — the county’s major industry — hope that it will be their turn next.
“We’re really going to shift to outdoor service only, no inside tastings and it will be bottle service only so we can limit the interaction between staff and their guests,” said Jeff Knowles, the CEO of Alpha Omega.
At Honig, they will also limit tastings to their patio. Wineries are drafting a long list of additional safety measures in hopes of opening safely.
“This is our family’s business and our home so it’s like giving them a little taste of who we are and that one in one connection is extremely important,” Stephanie Honig told KPIX 5.
Wineries are expected to open in Phase 3 of the Newsom’s plan.