As news develops with recommendations for social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, North Park’s businesses are having to adapt and comply with regulations while still meeting their customers’ and their employees’ needs.
San Diego Officials have mandated that all restaurants must end dine-in services but they may continue to offer takeout, delivery, and drive thru services. Social distancing is required for those picking up food from establishments.
Under a temporary measure taken by the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, California restaurants may now sell “beer, wine, and pre-mixed drinks or cocktails” for pick-up or delivery as long as they have “a secure lid or cap” (without a hole for sipping or a straw) and are sold with food. The state has also lifted its ban on alcohol sold at drive-through windows.
Some bars and restaurants have made the difficult decision to close their doors until further notice to help flatten the curve of the spreading virus or because they are unable to support their business and employees through to-go orders alone, or a combination of the two.
Restaurants that have decided to stay open are offering take-out orders and delivery through services like Doordash, GrubHub and Postmates. Some of North Park’s businesses have gotten creative in an attempt to remain afloat while honoring social distancing. Young Hickory has begun offering window service, –– transforming a large window on the side of the building into an order counter which sells coffee and beer.
A majority of food industry employees have been directly affected by the pandemic. Many businesses have laid off employees so they may apply for unemployment. North Park businesses like Coin-OP and Seven Grand have even started GoFundMe pages to raise money for their employees. As of now, Coin-Op has raised over $10,000 in support of their employees. Seven Grand has raised $4,655 of their $5,000 goal.
Breakfast Republic, a popular breakfast joint in North Park, is offering comfort food such as meat loaf, roasted chicken and lasagna on a ‘pay-what-you-can basis’ for workers laid off from their jobs in the service industry. The restaurant suggests making a $10 contribution for the meals in order to pay it forward, but those who are struggling to afford food during this time may take a meal for free.
In another effort, City Tacos has given back to the community while supporting their employees. One day, they served free, donation-based tamales, available by pickup or drive thru. All donations were equally distributed by City Tacos team members.
Above the City Tacos pick-up station is a sign that reads: “There is beauty and power in unity. We must be united in heart and mind. One world, one people.” The importance of a unified community has been an inspirational theme through this trying time.
North Parkers have rallied to support their local businesses and vice-versa. After hearing about a couple who had to cancel their wedding ceremony and instead have an impromptu county clerk wedding, Matt Lyons of Tribute Pizza decided to help them celebrate their special day by baking them a cake using a recipe from his mother’s cook book.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, “Chef Matt concocted a four-tiered confection decorated with fruit, flowers and a bride and groom cutout cake topper. When they arrived, Lyons and his wife invited them in, poured glasses of prosecco and filmed them cutting their cake. What’s more, Lyons refused to take any payment.”
Nationally, Tuesday, March 24th was declared the ‘Great American Takeout Day’ by a coalition of U.S. restaurants as a way to encourage everyone in America to eat at least one delivery or pick-up meal in an effort to support local businesses and service industry workers.
It is important to continue to support local restaurants as often as possible. These businesses are taking the proper precautions to employees and customers stay safe. Individuals and communities may continue to help their local businesses stay afloat by being informed of their carry-out and delivery options and trying to order out frequently.
North Park Main Street has curated a comprehensive list of its local restaurants and businesses that are open and offering to go and delivery options. This list is regularly updated and welcomes tips and suggestions. Visit our website to find more ways to support local during this time.