Variance Varieties… There’s no straight line for any industry in a pandemic, restaurants and bars included. After restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen (with limited seating to accommodate six-foot distancing between customers, plus other health measures), Monterey County landed on the California Department of Public Health’s watchlist on July 2 for potential re-closure due to rising Covid-19 cases. On July 6, Gov. Gavin Newsom directed Monterey County to move backwards a step, closing indoor restaurant service and all bars (indoor and outdoor). County health officials announced the closures would start July 8 for three weeks.
At Your Service… The Great Plates Delivered program was FEMA’s answer to two problems: help seniors get fed without leaving the house to get groceries or takeout during the pandemic, and help restaurants stay afloat. Participating restaurants were paid $66 per day for three meals and delivery to low-income seniors enrolled in the program, which ends July 10. Monterey County reached capacity with 210 seniors and seven participating restaurants (Stevie’s in Prunedale; Linda’s Taqueria in Gonzales; Cork and Plough in King City; Denny’s in Marina; Coastal Cuisine & Catering in Monterey; and Main Street Bakery and Monterey Coast Brewing of Salinas). The city of Seaside partnered with Googie Grill and Angelina’s Bakery.
In Kind… Here’s an idea to help people short on cash and restaurants that are hurting: Buy restaurant gift cards to give those businesses a needed infusion now, and give friends and family money to use any time. Annee Martin and Maren Elwood wanted to streamline this process, and launched Kindness Monterey July 9 at kindnessmonterey.com. (Restaurants can sign up at 235-7662 or email@example.com.)
Open, Shut… The city of Pacific Grove experimented with hard street closures for an outdoor dining experience on two blocks of Lighthouse Avenue before City Council canceled it. City officials on July 6, released new guidelines for “parklets,” outdoor seating in the space of two parking spots. Fees are waived for applications through the rest of this year; applicants have 20 days within approval to build their parklet (estimated to cost $2,000 to $20,000, “depending on size, design and materials,” according to city guidelines). Applicants must demonstrate neighborhood support for their proposal. Good luck; more at cityofpg.org/ccd or call 648-3189.
Refueling Fuel… Members of the ownership group of Sly’s Refueling Station told the Weekly in May that permanent closure was likely. But the legendary Cannery Row restaurant, bar and music venue is back (minus the crowded dance floor for the time being) with a newly elevated cocktail menu (think classics plus the “elderberry smash,” with fresh berries, orange bitter and elderberry liqueur) and sustenance like burgers and fish n chips.