Bay Area restaurant owners eager to open doors but they have many questions

Restaurant owners in the Bay Area are eager to open their doors to customers again for dine-in service.

Many are waiting on guidance from county and state health officials before making changes.

That includes Brad Barmore, co-owner of North Bay restaurants KIN, KINSmoke and The Publican.

Before Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Tuesday announcement about the future of California restaurants, Barmore said he doesn’t have a definitive plan yet of what his restaurants will look like when they reopen to for dine-in service, but the safety of guests and staff is his number one priority.

“We are trying to stay as informed as we possibly can right now and we still aren’t sure if they’re going to allow us to do that," he said. "But we have the game plan for the real probability that we’re going to open with diminished capacities and the old ways of operating restaurants are going to be very different now." 

In the meantime has a lot of questions.

 "What do we do about presetting tables with silverware and plates?" he asked. "What does the health department want to do about that kind of stuff? There’s a lot of things that we have a bunch of contingency plans for, but we need to know what is allowed by the health department, what they want us to do, what is the safest decision.”

Even the most basic restaurant items are a topic of conversation.

What do we do with salt and pepper shakers now? Do those not exist anymore? How do we handle that kind of stuff?

Barmore said they were forced to furlough 60 employees, but have been able to survive with the community’s support.

Windsor restaurant KIN and Healdsburg restaurant KINSmoke have been open for delivery and pick up through the shelter in place order. The Publican in Windsor is closed.

“We’ve developed such a strong presence with carry-out and delivery that even if we’re asked to open at half capacity or diminished capacity I feel very fortunate in the community we’re in," Barmore said. "In the two towns we’re in that we would be OK until we're able to get fully running."