Plumas restaurants and retail reopen for on-site service
By Debra Moore
The seating may be arranged differently and there won’t be condiments on the table, but local restaurants are welcoming diners for on-site service as Plumas County moves further into Stage 2 of the state’s reopening plan.
Likewise, retail establishments, many of which have been offering curbside service, now are opening their doors to their customers. And just as with restaurants, social distancing and other measures will be in place to protect employees and customers.
They are doing so with some guidance from the county’s public and environmental health agencies. “We are not asking businesses to submit their operating plan for review,” said Environmental Health Director Jerry Sipe, after being asked about procedures. “A template is available on the website, but businesses are free to use another written plan if that’s a better fit for their particular situation. Plans need to be made available to a county official upon request, but we’d typically only ask to review if we have complaints or if a COVID case/contact is linked to that business.”
In talking with two restaurants — one on each side of the county — the interaction with health agencies was mixed.
Terry Moore, owner of the Coyote Bar and Grill in Graeagle, said that he had two visits from the environmental health department as he prepared to reopen his dining areas, while Stacey Anderson, co-owner of Tantardino’s on the Lake Almanor Peninisula, had not had any interaction except an email outlining suggested protocols.
Moore offers indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a bar area. All have been changed to accommodate social distancing. “There are no more bar stools,” Moore said of his popular tequila bar, and patrons can’t be within six feet of the ice machine or the drink condiments such as cherries and lemon slices.
In the restaurant itself, he trimmed his number of tables from 13 to eight. Large tables have been removed and replaced with four- and two-tops. Outside, he expanded his seating capacity by cordoning off a portion of the parking lot to complement the patio area.
He shared some of the other interesting changes that will be implemented. No more than six people can be seated at a table (which he can accommodate by pushing two tables together) and they are to be from the same household. If diners arrive separately, they can’t be seated until all are present and they aren’t able to wait within the restaurant.
Only one server is allowed per table to minimize contact — it won’t be the case of one individual bringing you a drink, another taking an order, and perhaps a third person delivering the food. Patrons are to wear face masks until they are seated.
Moore said he will be working with a skeleton crew initially and bring in more staff as needed. He has remained open serving takeout food, which has been successful, but he is ready to resume sit down service. “I served 85 dinners last Saturday night — all to-go meals,” he said. Moore will be open six days a week beginning after Memorial Day. This week, he will be open Friday and Saturday for lunch and dinner and then close with the upcoming storm Sunday through Tuesday, reopening Wednesday.
This morning on the Lake Almanor Peninsula, Stacey Anderson was busy mopping the floor in anticipation of that evening’s reopening. Like Moore, she has been busy with takeout food — both curbside pickup and delivery.
“We might continue the delivery,” Anderson said. “It’s been very popular.” She also sees it as a way to maximize social distancing and allow her to employ more people. Many of her employees are college students who are anxious to get to work. Another way she plans to maximize social distancing is by moving her curbside service to the back door of the restaurant. She will be setting up signage to direct her customers.
Anderson and her husband Dennis Mannle took over Tantardino’s last June and realize that this summer will be very different.
For starters, as with the Graeagle restaurant, tables have been removed to allow for greater spacing and condiments removed from the table. Disposable menus double as placemats and are placed on paper tablecloths (which have always been popular for youngsters to draw on). “The staff can just roll up the entire table covering and then bleach down the chairs,” she said.
Dining will be on a reservation-only basis so call ahead. Tantardino’s will be open six days a week serving lunch and dinner; closed Mondays.
(Plumas News will be posting more information on restaurants opening and their changes as it becomes available. We wanted to give our readers a glimpse of what some restaurants are doing to accommodate the new rules.)
Matt Kitchens, co-owner of the Toy Store in Quincy, is happy to be officially reopened. He has been able to provide curbside service and serve up pints of ice cream, but that’s different than people being able to come in and purchase toys.
“I don’t know what our summer will look like,” Kitchens said, noting that many of the events that bring people to town have been canceled and lodging providers still can’t rent rooms to tourists. For that reason, he has scaled back his ordering, particularly on clothing.
During the past few months, puzzles and board games have been in demand, but he thinks the demand for outdoor toys will increase so that’s his focus.
Those who visit the store will be asked to wear face masks, as are the employees, who at this time are Matt and his father. There will also be markings on the floor to encourage people to remain six feet apart. The store will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The situation will be much the same at B&B Booksellers in Chester, which shares a building with Cravings Café, another retailer and the chamber of commerce.
Susan Bryner, co-owner of the bookstore, said the store continued to serve the public throughout the shutdown because it offers essential business services, such as copying, faxing and Federal Express.
Just as the Toy Store found a bestseller in puzzles, for the bookstore it was face masks. “We can’t keep them in the store,” Bryner said. Store personnel will be wearing masks and customers are asked to do the same. Bryner said most do, but she is pleased that the county revised its policy so that store owners and managers aren’t required to enforce face mask rules.
As for social distancing, Bryner said it will be difficult in a small store, where the limit would probably need to be five to seven people. “That will present a challenge when families come into buy books,” she said.
Bryner’s bookstore shares the building with Cravings Café, a restaurant that weathered the shutdown by offering pickup and delivery. It reopened Friday with inside seating (with some tables removed for social distancing) and will open its outdoor seating when the weather permits.
Bryner said the husband-wife team of Heath and Christi Chase delivered 70 dinners in one evening and have been busy, even with the doors closed to on-site dining.
“It’s amazing how much the community has supported local businesses for pick-up and delivery,” Bryner said. “It’s what I love about our community.”