Memorial day weekend is upon us and the state is making it easier for businesses in Wine Country to serve the public.
At midnight Saturday, Sonoma County restaurants, breweries, bars and pubs will be allowed to operate outdoors and wine tasting rooms can also get into the action, if and only if they offer food.
Though the move is welcomed, it caught some business owners off guard.
Chefs at Cucina Paradiso in Petaluma have gotten used to making and serving take out orders for their loyal customers.
“We’re not ready to open tomorrow or Sunday.” said Dennis Fernandez from Cucina Paradiso.
The California Department of Public Health decided that Sonoma was ready to step further into Phase 2.
That sounds like good news, but Fernandez says he’s not ready.
“Makes it confusing for me and my staff,” he said. “We have people who want to come back to work.”
Sonoma county is now joining Napa County on this memorial day weekend by rolling back some of the strict rules we now follow because of COVID-19, but there’s a twist.
Napa County is now allowing customers to eat inside restaurants. Sonoma county’s new rule is outside dining only and if you go to a wine tasting room, food must be served before you buy wine.
County Supervisor David Rabbit said it’s not a competition between the two counties.
“We want to understand the consequences in every decision we make, check the health criteria to make sure we stay on track and make sure we’re not sliding back in any fashion,” he said.
Rob Della Santina has been in Sonoma for 30 years. He’s grateful that things are easing up, but he’s not ready to open either.
“We have to get all our equipment to open,” said Della Santina. “Hand sanitizer, masks, gloves. We have to make sure our customers are safe. If you go to a restaurant that looks the same you’re not going to feel very comfortable.”