A Danville restaurant owner continues to defy public health orders to close all dining, despite receiving fines as high as $1,000 per day – and he’s not alone in his defiance. Customers are coming from miles away to show their support.
On Wednesday night, Incontro Restaurant in Danville was bustling in its outdoor and enclosed patio seating areas, even though restaurants are currently only allowed to offer delivery and pickup services due to the COVID-19 surge.
Some of the customers were visiting Incontro for the first time.
“I came here on purpose, because they’re open,” said George, a diner from Walnut Creek.
George drove from Walnut Creek specifically after hearing the owner was being fined for remaining open.
“I’d go an hour to try to support someone that’s trying to feed their family,” he said.
He said that, in his opinion, after this much time in “pandemic mode,” banning outdoor dining leaves few choices for get togethers, which are ultimately going to happen anyway.
“I mean outdoor dining, you’re just pushing people into the people’s homes,” George said. “You’re making people sick.”
A more regular Incontro patron appreciated the sentiment from his Walnut Creek neighbor.
“If someone opens up in Walnut Creek, I’ll be there tomorrow,” said customer Naveen Aujla.
Aujla agreed with George and said a ban on outdoor dining makes no sense because people are going to get together.
“I mean, at the end of the day it’s just a meal,” Aujla said. “I mean people are going to the malls. They’re going to Costco. They go to Safeway.”
It’s a sentiment shared by people on the other side of the bay, too.
In Pacifica, a group of bar and restaurant owners protested against the closures, with around 75 people showing their support.
“We’re merely asking to resume outdoor service, following all safety protocols,” said Kimberly Lerohl, owner of Longboard Margarita Bar.
The show of support was not a surprise for George.
“Well, I think there’s a silent majority of people that would really like to get back to their lives, and realize that what we have been doing has not been working,” he said. “So, I’m one of them.”
The Danville Police Department has confirmed that it’s delivering fine notices to Incontro and other businesses that violate the health order.
A spokesperson would not confirm the number or amount of the fines.
Incontro’s owner did not want to comment.