COVID-19 has taken a big toll on restaurant businesses.
The pandemic has forced California Governor Gavin Newsom to place a “shelter-in-place” order forcing all Californias to stay home except for essential needs, such as grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments.
In Stockton, Lodi and the surrounding areas, restaurants have been affected just as much as other businesses — if not more.
This order forced restaurants to reduce the capacity allowed in dining rooms, first down to half-capacity, then shuttering dining rooms entirely.
Restaurants are now only allowed to be opened if they can provide take out, delivery or drive thru service.
This has forced many restaurants to shut down because they’re not breaking even with what it takes to open their doors and money coming in from food orders.
“COVID-19 has affected our business a lot because our sales dropped by 70 percent due to the no dine in [policy],” said Kenny Kong, aka Big Worm, of Big Worm’s Bakery and Deli.
While the shop still takes orders for take out and delivery, “it’s better to just open to the community and do the best we can to help them and ourselves,” said Kong.
In these tough times, several mom and pop shops like Big Worm’s are staying open while following the proper Safety and Sanitation Guidelines from general county guidelines.
The well-known National Restaurant Association (NRA), also known as ServSafe, has provided free ServSafe Food Handler training as well as ServSafe Takeout and Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions training videos.
Many restaurants have taken advantage of this free training to be able to open up their doors to their communities and reassure customers that proper guidelines are being followed.
However, other places, like D’Lilah’s Cakery in Stockton, have closed their doors to the public completely, keeping business to shipped orders only.
“We have allowed for select items to be shipped 1-2 day shipping via USPS,” said owner D’lilah Vanessa Pubill.
Shutting the doors is a hard decision for many, so still attempting to bring in some income to keep their locations open is the only option available to many restaurant business owners like D’lilah.
With the uncertainty of this pandemic, many restaurants can only hope to reopen to the public sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, Visit Stockton is maintaining a list of area restaurants open for take out and delivery during the shelter-in-place order. For more information, go to visitstockton.org/restaurants/dine-stockton/.