Arthur Mac’s Tap & Snack is one of a whole slew of beer gardens in the North Oakland/Temescal area — the kind of bustling kid- and dog-friendly spot where large groups of family and friends love to congregate in the evenings, kicking back with some local craft beer and by-the-slice pizza. But according to Joel DiGiorgio, one of the restaurant’s owners, that kind of friendly mingling of large groups of customers sitting in close proximity to one another is exactly what we should be trying to avoid during this global coronavirus pandemic.
And so Arthur Mac’s has made the decision to suspend all on-site dining indefinitely, instead offering only to-go pickup orders and delivery orders during its regular business hours. The restaurant will also serve canned beer and wine as a to-go offering.
“We understand that our decision to proactively reduce and restrict our service may be perceived as an overreaction, but we pride ourselves on being the neighborhood backyard, and we feel a sense of responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of our community,” DiGiorgio wrote in an email sent to Eater SF. He says he hopes the policy won’t have to be in place for more than a week or two, but acknowledged that it would likely lead to “a significant reduction in short term earnings.”
The move comes as restaurants all across the Bay Area scramble to come up with new safety policies in the face of the quickly-evolving coronavirus crisis. And Arthur Mac’s isn’t the only Bay Area food venue that’s taken this seemingly drastic step of eliminating its dine-in option: Also in Oakland, Monster Pho, a popular Vietnamese restaurant, announced on Instagram that it, too, is switching over to offering only takeout and delivery service “due to health concerns and the safety of our community.”
Perhaps even more notable, the mega food truck event organizer Off the Grid has said that, in addition to temporarily cancelling two of its largest weekly food truck rallies, at Fort Mason and Lake Merritt, it has shifted all of its remaining active food truck events to takeout only as well, offering “increased sanitary practices from both Off the Grid staff and our third-party vendors and no in-market dining or seating.” Off the Grid currently lists 14 active markets, spanning multiple locations in downtown San Francisco out to Alameda and Menlo Park, so food truck customers across the Bay will feel the impact of that policy change.
Will other Bay Area restaurants follow suit? In his email. DiGiorgio said he believes they should if it’s feasible for them to do so, understanding that it would be a lot more difficult for full-service restaurants.
“It doesn’t feel like we’re in the middle of a pandemic when you’re at Arthur Mac’s, but we are, and that’s the problem,” DiGiorgio says. “These are just the unfortunate realities of the current situation.”