By Tom Hepner
The great news is that today Plumas County moves to the less restrictive Red Tier, allowing restaurants (and breweries with food service) to reopen inside dining. However, at this time I have chosen to keep our dining room closed and continue only with patio dining and to-go service, for the reasons outlined below.
Owning a business such as this during the last year of COVID restrictions has been incredibly difficult. It feels like we are constantly adjusting our operations to cater to the latest (and necessary) rules and regulations, and just when we get into a groove it all changes again. In our cold climate the onset of winter additionally complicated how we are able to host. Sales are unpredictable and down overall, staff are tired and scared with our particularly high daily risk of exposure to COVID, and not all customers (though most) are understanding of the restrictions designed to lower risk in our community.
People have a choice in coming to our business, and the risks they are willing to take. Many loyal customers have continued to-go purchases, others have enjoyed our patio on nice days. And others we haven’t seen for 12 months, which is understandable. For our staff however, this is our job. And we don’t have a choice. We have to turn up daily, take precautions as we interact with visitors from far and wide, work within the restrictions, and hope for the best. COVID is real. COVID is not gone. Very few are vaccinated. And as we all get pandemic fatigue, we have seen less cautious behavior from the public.
From a financial perspective, my business desperately needs to reopen indoors. But I need to weigh that with the ethical obligation I have to my staff to keep them healthy and feeling safe. I know there will be a lot of expectation for us to reopen inside dining today, and I hate to disappoint with this difficult decision. But THANK YOU for your understanding, and for your continued patronage so that we may survive this cluster****. We will reevaluate the rules and risks (and weather!) regularly, with the goal of opening inside dining in the near future.