Dec. 10, 2020


Outdoor dining should not be forbidden

As a lifelong progressive, I disagree with California and other government entities shutting down outdoor dining. Yes, COVID-19 cases are surging, but are they a result of outdoor dining? The Mayo Clinic judges it a low to moderate risk behavior:
 
The consequences for restaurant owners and staff are devastating. They have invested in all sorts of tables, platforms and pavilions outdoors and made paper menus, and the wait staff wear masks, etc. You are not forced to patronize these restaurants, and you decide which ones to visit, if any. 
 
I have fish tacos with a buddy once a week at a seaside eatery with outdoor tables on a parking lot patio. The masked wait person brings the food to the table in a bag to us, sitting quite far apart. Downtown Ventura shut down our Main Street so restaurants could offer food on sheltered platforms and pavilions in the street. We  judge this very safe and have meals there about once a month.  We also patronize our local eateries with takeout orders.
 
We are canceling any family plans for the holidays and beyond — until our age and health group gets vaccinated — how long will that be? Who knows? 
 
Economically, shutting down restaurants that serve outdoor meals is a bad plan. I won’t go into the angry public reaction it’s already causing. This is overreach on the part of our officials and adds to the chaos and distress the pandemic is causing.
Bob Chianese
Ojai