Continuing In An Unknown World - Restaurant News In The Age Of An Unprecedented Pandemic

March 13, 2020

It seems trivial to write and report about local restaurant news in a time like this, but this is also the time when small local businesses will most need support. The United States and much of the globe are reeling in response to a global pandemic unprecedented in the modern world. Like most of my fellow humans dealing with Coronavirus hysteria, I do not know what to do or how to proceed. Yet we cannot continue as we have without addressing the elephant in the room. Our way of life has changed dramatically in a short period of time, and we surmise it will continue to become more restrictive as testing increases and precaution measures evolve. What do you want from your local food news blog during such a time? Should we just ignore this and provide a respite from the craziness? Should we remain a light-hearted distraction? Should we report about how local eateries are reacting to the epidemic, who is open, who is closing, who is doing what to adapt in the face of this new world? Should we continue to encourage commerce or opt to promote prepared safety for our readership? Personally, I have no idea what to do. Do you?

Accept it or not, it is a different America than it was last month, even just a few days ago. Across the country, all major sporting events and concerts have been cancelled or postponed. Grocery stores have been and continue to be picked over and plundered. Disney has shuttered all of its parks across the globe. San Diego has forbidden any events larger than 250 people to take place. All of the local farmers markets have been put on pause. EVERYTHING is essentially cancelled for the foreseeable future. It is a crazy time to be alive, and people will lose jobs and businesses will close as social safeguards increase.

Restaurants are already dealing with slim profit margins and rising costs on everything from rent to payroll to products, especially in California. If this hysteria continues, as we believe it will based on warnings from dear friends in Italy, by next week we may be forced to remain home except to venture out for essentials, meaning many businesses will have to go on hiatus. Sure, some have insurance that will cover this but others will not be able to continue. It could become a time when we must either adapt or perish to stay afloat. One idea being proposed to help support small businesses is having loyal patrons purchase gift cards to be used at later time to give companies some much needed cashflow during this difficult time.

Yes, I paid $23 for 12 rolls of toilet paper at
Rite Aid Pacific Beach.
While I do believe we need to rally together in support of our community, I also believe businesses must immediately be proactive to detail measures that comfort their customer base if they want to remain open. Many are already taking to social media to quell concerns. Frankly, I am apprehensive of dining out right now. I do not trust that bars and restaurants are properly sanitized and staff is adequately vetted for illness. I know this will be an unpopular opinion with my hospitality industry compatriots, but it is how I honestly feel.

Yesterday was the beginning of a different kind of life, at the very least for the rest of the month. As news broke of all the measures being put in place to limit transfer of the virus, I found myself going from skepticism to pure panic. I quickly dressed and went out to several local stores to stock up on essentials necessary for a prolonged confinement. After shopping, I stopped at a local watering hole for a beer and lunch. I quickly found myself analyzing the practices of employees. Kitchen staff wasn't wearing gloves. The bartender touched my water glass a bit high up. The busser had his hands all over the clean dishes he was stacking. Internally, I quickly became uncomfortable with the idea of ordering food. I finished my beer, paid the tab and went home to take a shower. Granted, I'm a bit more OCD than the average person, but maybe businesses need analysis from someone with such a precondition.

There is no purpose behind this post other than to relay the confusion I feel internally. Should we at SanDiegoVille continue to report on local restaurant developments in real time? Should we essentially encourage people to forego self-quarantine and safe distancing recommendations to venture out into the public at large to support local businesses? Honestly, I do not know what is right, but we need to be sensitive to the plight of our fellow human beings in this difficult time. My reflexive personality trait is to make light of any situation, no matter the gravity, (as you can tell by my image choices in this post) but I worry that doing so in this situation could cause grave consequences if not taken seriously by business operator and patron alike.

This is counter-intuitive to our business model, but maybe the best thing to do right now is disconnect from the Interweb and spend time with loved ones. Enjoy the little things. What are your thoughts? Please send us an email or direct message us to our Facebook or Instagram pages, and most importantly stay safe out there and show compassion to one another! We are all going through a difficult time.