Pictured: The entrance to Peirano’s on Main Street in Ventura, which will not be part of the first wave of restaurants to reopen in the county. Photo from Peirano’s Facebook page.
by Kimberly Rivers
“It is not simply opening our doors. If we are actually going to follow the guidelines, it is a significant change in normal business,” said Jim Rice, co-owner of Peirano’s Market and Delicatessen on Main Street in Ventura. He spoke to the VCReporter on May 23 about the decision not to reopen the dining room and patio at Peirano’s right now as many restaurants and businesses were reopening.
“From what I saw last night [in downtown Ventura], a lot of those requirements are not being implemented,” said Rice about the first evening restaurants were able to open their dining rooms in the county. “We are in no hurry to make a mistake. Our first priority is to protect our employees and customers.”
Peirano’s has contracted with World Central Kitchen, a national nonprofit organization providing food to those in need during disasters, and with local restaurants to support locally owned businesses. “That has really helped. We’ve prepared 300 meals every morning. That allowed us to bring back almost half of our staff. We are running pretty lean and mean.”
Peirano’s also shifted to online sales, and that has worked so well that it will remain even after things fully reopen.
Pointing to extensive efforts made throughout the county to protect the community, Rice said, “We’ve all worked really hard at being safe, to just toss it all away now is crazy.” He added that reopening too soon could put the to-go and curbside business “in jeopardy.”
“Spacing is the least of the issues,” he explained. Peirano’s patio could easily be spaced to meet the new rules. “But there is no shared condiments, no salt and pepper at the tables. Silverware has to be single use.” The requirements include a 15-minute sanitation between each table sitting, and having entrance and exit at different locations. He said the restaurant will reopen the dining room and patio, but wants to make sure staff is fully trained and that customers will also comply.
“It doesn’t do us any good to implement all safety features internally and to allow the public to just disregard them.”
“Some things are going to shake out over the next few days,” said Rice. “I’d rather be over cautious than carefree. We are anxious to open. We are just going to be as smart as we can. We will know when we are ready.”