SAN DIEGO — Restaurants across San Diego will be reopening their doors for dine-in services Friday and over the weekend, but some are worried customers might still be too afraid to come back.
One thing San Diego restaurants will be able to control is their safety practices.
“We all ask everyone for a little more patience while we get through these big adjustments on such short notice,” said Doug Tondro who runs The Spot in La Jolla.
It’s been a hectic 24 hours since Tondro got the county's green light to reopen. Getting his La Jolla restaurant, The Spot, ready for opening day Saturday has been no easy task.
“We are going from having 25 tables and a full bar to only having eight tables and no bar seating,” he said.
For now, The Spot will be at 25% of capacity. Tondro is not alone.
“We don't have a lot of space, but we’re going to try to do our best,” said Owner of Thai Gulf in La Jolla, Narin Kidd.
Restaurants everywhere are re-configuring dining rooms in accordance with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Restaurants are making sure tables are far enough apart, no one's gathering in clusters, and customers feel confident about coming back.
“I think I would be up to going but, yeah, I'd be a little nervous at first. Probably more something outdoors would be something I'd feel more comfortable in the beginning,” said Jennifer Barclay Roach who was grabbing take-out.
Recent evidence suggests that the risk of infection is lower outdoors, and the industry has taken note.
From La Jolla to Little Italy, many restaurants are moving tables out to the sidewalks, making for socially distanced open-air experiences.
“I think true foodies, that's what they're really interested in, is what is going to be next for the restaurant industry,” said San Diego Food Writer Michelle Stansbury.
Stansbury believes the transformation and anticipation will be enough to get people to safely return to the dining scene.
“Obviously nobody wants to risk their health for a really good cheeseburger, but at the same time we've been sheltering at home for a couple months now and part of what we miss is this delicious food -- part of it is community,” she said.
For many still on the fence, experts recommend you look around once you arrive and pay attention to any red flags like crowding outside a restaurant.
Also, remember to make a reservation.