Owners and staff have to face the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic as local restaurants are allowed to reopen


Isabella Nash

Pond Farm Brewing Company a brewpub in San Rafael on Tuesday, September 15

In May, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) began allowing restaurants to reopen after months of mandated COVID-19 safety closures. In order to remain open local restaurants now need to follow many COVID-19 restrictions.  

Many local restaurants, such as Fairfax Italian eatery Fradelizio’s, are doing their best to appease these safety precautions. 

“We’re constantly washing our hands, we’re wearing our masks all day, we sanitize everything, we do it like every half hour and if one thing is touched, we sanitize it. Pens, anything that goes on hands, gets cleaned immediately,” Cindy Giorgi, manager of Fradelizio’s, said.

Fradelizio’s has started seating parties at outside tables. These parties can be up to four people preferably from the same household.

Fradelizio’s an Italian restaurant in the middle of Fairfax on Tuesday, September 15 (Isabella Nash)

Nick Rubbo, the taproom manager at Pond Farm Brewing Company in San Rafael is one of the many restaurant managers grappling with the risks of reopening. 

“Safety was our first concern of the staff, and obviously the guests… We keep it touchless, safer… you know, making sure people wear masks… or if you get up to use the restroom we ask that you don’t move around… we have hand sanitizer around for guests to use, for staff to use, we have sanitizing solutions to clean down tables, stools, seats, we have an hourly log that we clean the restrooms with,” Rubbo said.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic some companies ran into obstacles ordering supplies and ingredients. While neither Fradelizio’s nor Pond Farm Brewing Company had any problems procuring ingredients, Rubbo says that early on it was difficult to get a hold of aluminum cans as this was the only way they could sell their beer. 

“A lot of taprooms like ourselves were focused on selling beer in the taproom, [this] was a large portion of our kind of business,” Rubbo said. However, the breweries in this area were able to lend each other some supplies.

As for how their businesses were faring, Rubbo mentioned that it’s challenging to go from a busy taproom where people can roam around to having to be socially distanced in smaller groups. However, both Giorgi and Rubbo had different successes and struggles.

 “[Reopening has] definitely had its challenges…you know big events in our back room with you know all sorts of birthday parties, holiday events, our Oktoberfest event would’ve been around this time. Those things are missed, you know?” Rubbo said.

At this time restaurants are doing everything in their power to adjust to these new circumstances. The pandemic is a new experience for everyone, and local businesses are doing all they can to ensure the safety of others.