California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently described the future of restaurant dining in the Golden State thusly: “[You] may be having dinner with a waiter wearing gloves, maybe a face mask, a dinner where the menu is disposable, where … half of the tables in that restaurant no longer appear, where your temperature is checked before you walk into the establishment.”
Sounds like cool new experiential dining – but no one will experience it this week.
After announcing that restaurants would be categorized as “lower-risk” workplaces and eligible for the state’s Phase 2 reopening plan starting this week, Newsom put the kibosh on that plan on Monday (May 4). Instead, he told a news conference that the state will issue new guidance for California food and dining establishments on Thursday (May 7).
California State Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell added that she understands that business owners and consumers “look forward to us sharing guidance and data on when [restaurants] can reopen.”
The California Restaurant Association (CRA) has asked the Newsom administration for a number of emergency measures to help beleaguered operators survive until cash flow is reestablished. In an open letter to Newsom, the CRA applauded mammoth efforts to contain the pandemic, noting that “…we believe the state has a moral obligation to take equally aggressive steps to address the economic harm caused by these measures to our state’s residents.”
California counties can submit easing plans individually, which means there is likely to be a patchwork of restaurant activity around the state as officials monitor for reinfection.
Newsom told reporters on Monday (May 4) that “we have great confidence in local health officials in understanding the needs of their very specific communities.”
PYMNTS’ latest survey of consumer sentiment shows that restaurant dining is one of the segments that is more likely to recover once the coronavirus crisis ends. Some 53.1 percent of consumers told PYMNTS that’s their first, second or third most important reason for wanting to leave home, only behind the 73.1 percent of Americans who listed seeing friends and family as one of their top three reasons for venturing out. Read more about what consumers told us about their views on the pandemic and their likely economic activity.