As California Closes Bars and Wineries, Restaurants Turn to Food Delivery
The latest news amid the novel coronavirus pandemic comes from California Governor Gavin Newsom. In a live press conference on Sunday, the Governor announced a new directive mandating restaurants to practice social distancing (reducing their capacity by 50%) while bars, breweries, clubs, and wineries have been directed to shut down altogether. (Currently, California has 421 positive coronavirus cases in the state.)
While some restaurants may shutter their in-dining completely, others are turning to food delivery service to stay in business. Restaurants have already been scrambling to adapt to the Governor's order, by providing meal delivery service to customers during the growing health crisis. As of last week, restaurants had already started specialty food service, meal kits, and delivery for customers that don’t want to eat at their venue. Some of those are listed below.
Third-party delivery services that many restaurants and customers rely on, like DoorDash, Seemless, Grubhub, and Postmates, will certainly see an uptick in business and have taken their own precautionary measures. DoorDash earlier this week added a “no contact” delivery instruction to ease those that don’t want to have human-to-human contact with delivery people, to help reduce driver-to-customer physical interaction.
Is it safe to order takeout or delivery?
If you are concerned about coming into close contact with others while dining out (even in the social distancing happening now), food delivery might be a better option. It also may be a critical lifeline for restaurants trying keep their businesses afloat in the midst of having to reduce occupancy. (You should call or visit the website or social media of your favorite local restaurant to see their options and adjustments they have made.)
Dr. Robert Amler, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College and a former CDC Chief Medical Officer, provided some advice in a recent interview with Food & Wine that should assure you about ordering food in. “You should feel comfortable ordering food in,” says Dr. Amler. He goes on to explain that scrubbing of hands and wiping down surfaces with a bleach wipe is a very effective way of killing the virus. Given that the virus can survive up to three days on stainless steel and plastic surfaces, Dr. Amler recommends washing your hands--thoroughly with soap and water--and wiping down surfaces like delivery containers that may come into your home.
Is it Safe to Dine Out? Or Should You Order In?
At this point, the choice to dine out is potentially putting others at risk since you might be a carrier and not know it. In California, anyone over 65 years of age is to self-isolate and not to go into public places—so restaurants would be a no-go.
Restaurants have already voluntarily practiced safety measured, extra cleaning, and now social distancing of patrons, following the directive of the California government. Other measures restaurants are taking include regularly sanitizing all surfaces, using disposable menus, placing hand sanitizer throughout the restaurant and requiring extra handwashing by employees. Also, of course, mandating that if an employee is sick, they do not come to work.
What’s the Status of My Favorite Vegan Restaurants?
Below are a few of our favorite vegan-friendly restaurants and their response to the coronavirus. Many have already made special accommodations for customers. You will certainly see more updates from restaurants as they try to reassure customers and provide alternatives to in-restaurant dining during these uncertain times.
By CHLOE Is Offering “Contactless Pick Up”
Fast-casual chain by CHLOE released this statement to the public on March 11: “At by CHLOE, the safety of our guests + team members is our top priority. With that in mind, we wanted to share with you the additional proactive steps by CHLOE. is taking in light of the growing concern around COVID-19, or Coronavirus.”
Crossroads (LA, West Hollywood) Is Doing Special Meal Kits and Delivery
Crossroads, a plant-based restaurant off Melrose in LA, released a statement: “For anyone not presently wishing to dine in the restaurant, we are offering some of your favorite dishes as Meal Kits for you to cook at home.”
Each item serves two people and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. Meal Kits will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days before being prepared. Call the restaurant to place your order. They are offering items like a Kale Caesar Salad, Tagliatelle Bolognese, Chickpeas Marsala, and many more items.
Pura Vida (LA, West Hollywood) Is Offering Food Delivery Specials
Pura Vida, a favorite vegan Italian restaurant and wine bar is doing delivery via Postmates and for the time being, they say they have set up a 50% off delivery starting Saturday, March 14th. “If you are feeling even slightly unwell or simply do not want to leave your home, please order through Postmates,” the company says in a statement on its Facebook page.
They continue to reassure guests: “Like most of you, we are paying very close attention to COVID-19 and its effect on our community. It is always in our nature to uphold the absolute highest standards of cleanliness, however, under these circumstances, we will be acting more cautious than ever to maintain a safe and clean environment here at Pura Vita. We have increased our process to take even further preventive measures within our space. We are closely monitoring the situation and will follow all necessary protocols as they come. At this point, we are open and operating with normal hours. Our goal is always to provide a safe space for you to find comfort through food and hospitality. We are a small family-owned business and truly appreciate your continuing support of our restaurant, staff, and community.”
Krimsey’s (LA, Silverlake) Restaurant Closed, Doing Delivery and Pickup
The first cajun vegan restaurant in LA already closed down its in-dining for safety (prior to the closure mandate from Governor Gavin Newsom), but it’s making sure that guests feel comfortable placing orders for delivery or pickup.
An announcement on their Facebook page reads this: “To keep our Krewe and community safe, we are limiting our services to pick up & delivery ONLY for the time being. To place an order please visit krimseys.com. We recommend pickup, because you may experience long delays for delivery.” Stay safe & rest assured we are taking great care in preparing your munchies in a clean & sanitary environment. Thank you for continuing to support small businesses through this tough time. #CoroNOvirus”
Margerum Wine Tasting Room, Santa Barbara
Even wineries are making it easy for customers to still partake in making sure they can access good vino. Margerum Wine, a prominent tasting room in Santa Barbara, has adapted to make sure its customers can get what they need:
“If you are in the Goleta to Carpinteria area we are offering FREE personal delivery on purchases of 1 or more cases. Furthermore, we are offering curbside pick-up for any quantity of wine as well as pizzas. Order by phone or email and we will deliver the wine and/or food to your car in the loading or 15-minute zone in front of the tasting room on Mason Street. Please call
These are just a few of the many restaurants that are adapting to difficult times. For many people, food can provide a sense of comfort and escape. It’s also important to find ways to safely support your local businesses that may be hurt by the pandemic. Make sure to always check CDC guidance and heed advice from public health officials.
Check with your local restaurant before visiting and to see what accommodations they are making during this time.