Solano County’s Reopening Approval Comes With Some Confusion

Unlike Napa, it appears almost none of the business owners had any idea exactly when they could start reopening their dining rooms.

NBC Bay Area News, By Jackie Ward, May 21, 2020
Interior of Kinsmoke barbecue restaurant in the Sonoma County wine country, Healdsburg, California, August 24, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Just one day after Napa County got the green light for dine-in restaurants to reopen, Solano County got approval to do the same.

The state told the county late last night that it had met the criteria to expand further into Phase 2 of reopening. But unlike Napa, it appears almost none of the business owners had any idea exactly when they could start reopening their dining rooms.

Restaurants in Solano County will finally be able to let people eat inside and outside of their establishments starting Friday at 6 a.m. Getting that sorted out was confusing though, since the state gave approval Wednesday.

“I don’t know anything about it. No emails, no nothing, nobody said anything,” said Piero Tropeano, the owner of Evelyn’s Big Italian Pizzeria.

Tropeano has owned his restaurant for 11 years and says his takeout-only business has been manageable, but keeping up with the forever-changing rules has not been.

“They tell you, they send you email, no salt and pepper shakers, you gotta have plastic, you gotta do this, you gotta do that,” he said.

Late Wednesday night, Solano County was approved by the State Health Department to allow its restaurants to enter into the next part of Phase 2. Resham Sangh, the manager at Saffon says, he has one problem. “It’s not really safe for me and my colleagues. And it’s also not safe for the people who come over here.”

Solano County explained the reason for the confusion in a statement, writing in part:

“Since we just received the green light from CDPH on the “at a station” request late last night, we are working quickly to amend the order and inform our business community of the reopening process.”

Tiffany Hachett of Fairfield says getting to do this again is, “Heaven. I always do it anyway.”

Even when restaurant owners get the official word from the county, Piero says it will take him up to three days to comply with the new regulations. He wonders if it’s even financially worth it. He said his takeout business without additional rules is, “a lot easier with no aggravation.”

Solano County officials said they planned to start extensively reaching out to businesses today in order to get everyone on the same page.