Just after Monterey County Health Officer Edward Moreno issued a shelter-in-place order shutting down all "non-essential" activities on March 18, Yann Lusseau prepared to close his bakery, Parker-Lusseau.
Then he learned that food establishments can stay open, as long as they don't seat people. That meant stacking the chairs at his downtown Monterey location next to the post office, and closing down his Ryan Ranch location because no workers would be coming to the adjacent office park hungry for treats.
His staff had automatically thinned itself out, with some high-risk employees sheltering at home. Those who could work would be able to continue.
"We can produce food and our freezers are full," Lusseau says. "Our walk-in refrigerator is not full, because we don’t want to waste. Until we really have to shut down, we’ll stay open."
His bakery is one of some 2,000 food establishments in Monterey County that are authorized to continue operating for the duration of the shelter-in-place order, which currently has no end date.
Even before the shelter-in-place order came down, on the week of March 9, Monterey County's Environmental Health Bureau contacted all 2,000 permitted food entities in the county with information on what it would take to keep operating.
For many restaurants, their concept doesn't translate easily to takeout (like fine dining) or they can't afford to staff locations, so they've closed entirely. In some cases, supply lines have slowed down. (Blue Aces Bake Shoppe in Salinas closed, and announced, "Baking ingredients are incredibly scarce at the moment." Even retail-sized bags of flour at the grocery store have been hard to come by.)
Despite the hardship, hundreds of restaurants are still open, and are doing to-go business only. Many are offering curbside pickup, so you can avoid potential exposure and still load up on food (or beer—Carmel Craft Brewery, for example, will meet you curbside if you call ahead to order).
So where can you eat? Expert local foodie (and former Weekly food contributor Raúl Nava) has spearheaded the creation of a thorough spreadsheet, regularly updated with new information on who's open. The spreadsheet can be viewed here.
Contributors to the list also include former Weekly staffers Marielle Argueza and Marvin Green IV. To provide updates or corrections, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many hospitality employees across all sectors of the food and beverage business are out of work at the moment. If you're able to, you can provide virtual tips to local hospitality professionals. Go to serviceindustry.tips and search for Monterey; a rotating list of locals will appear and you're invited to tip them using Venmo. (And if you're a member of the industry, you can sign up to be included.)