Vicki White and Destiny Shields at Joe's

Vicki White and Destiny Shields at Joe’s.

–Only days after San Luis Obispo County’s return to the Red Tier, some North County restaurants are feeling a surge of customers. At Joe’s Place on Spring Street in Paso Robles Thursday morning, owner Joe Ontiveros said they had a crowd in the parking lot waiting to be seated inside.

Joe's Place with Joe

Joe Ontiveros checks on customers.

“Looks like the doors have been opened,” Ontiveros said. “I’m loving it. Mid-week and it looks like about a 20-minute wait to be seated. The phone is ringing off the hook. It’s great. This is night and day.” Servers Vicki White and Destiny Shields hustled to keep the customers fed and tables turning.

During the Purple Tier, Joe’s Place was able to seat people on an outdoor patio. Now in the Red Tier, Joe’s can seat a limited number of people inside. The servers still wear face masks and take extra precautions to clean tables after each customer. Additionally, the tables are arranged for safe-distancing.

Dinner houses need a longer ramp-up to reopen. In Atascadero Thursday afternoon, the Nautical Cowboy barbecue on El Camino Real produced aroma along El Camino Real. Hungry customers bought sandwiches, vegetables, tri-tip, and ribs on the sidewalk, but the indoor dining room was empty. It takes longer for a dinner house to order food, schedule staffing, and reopen the dining room.

This weekend, many more restaurants in North County are expected to reopen under the restrictions imposed by the updated state regulations.

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