Walnut Creek

Walnut Creek Restaurants Brave Storm to Reopen Outdoor Dining

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T-shirt, sweater, heavy coat, scarf, hat - and a face mask. That is the wardrobe needed to eat outside in downtown Walnut Creek.

Katy's Kreek is one of the many restaurants across the Bay Area getting ready to reopen outdoor dining after Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted the stay-at-home order.

However, due to the storm, outdoor dining will look a little different this time around.

"It is chilly, but luckily the masks they make you feel warm," said Concord resident Amanda Doppe.

Saul Quintero had been laid off due to the pandemic, but he's back to work as outdoor dining resumes.

When he's not busy serving up hot drink to keep customers warm, he's thinking of ways to fortify the outdoor patio from this week's incoming rain and pounding wind.

"I can't even have a heater under those tents," he said, "that's a safety regulation. We have to respect that."

If he can't bolt umbrellas down, they wont be of much help when the winds pick up.

"It's going to get really difficult. Rain plus wind, that’s not good for us," Quintero said. "People are just going to get wet."

Other restaurants in the area scrambled to set up canopy tents just in time for the lunch crowd.

The National Restaurant Association released its annual State of the Industry report Tuesday and found there's a strong pent up demand for diners to return to restaurants.

According to the reports, 85% of adults surveyed said going to a restaurant with family or friends is a better way to spend their leisure time than cooking at home.

On the contrary, six in 10 adults said restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle.

"I know we want to protect everyone," said Walnut Creek resident Janek Bubela, "but at the same time, we want businesses to get back on their feet because it’s so difficult for them."

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