One Fresno restaurateur is making plans to reopen one of his restaurants after the city’s shelter-in-place order is set to expire on May 6.
Dave Fansler, the owner of Pismo’s Coastal Grill, Westwoods BBQ and Yosemite Ranch, has put together a plan to ramp up operations at Pismo’s on May 7, assuming the city doesn’t extend the order, followed by the other two restaurants.
“It’s absolutely critical that Mayor Lee Brand takes some leadership here and pushes on Fresno being its own entity and not to be included in other areas of the state,” Fansler told The Sun. “We have very few cases for our population, and we’ve got good people here that can show other merchants how to open up their business.”
Since Fresno enacted the shelter-in-place order on March 18, Fansler’s restaurants – like many others in the city – have been serving takeout and curbside pickup.
Throughout that time, Fansler has had to furlough about 280 of his 350 employees.
On April 20, Pismo’s released a video announcing its intentions to offer dine-in options on May 7 by reservation only. All the reservations have already sold out, Fansler said.
On Sunday, Pismo’s posted a second video detailing its plan to take extra health-safety precautions, such as seating a limited number of tables and having employees who are solely dedicated to sanitizing.
Fansler submitted the plan to the Fresno County of Department of Public Health on Monday.
“It’s very precise,” Fansler said. “It can be used by any restaurant in town. I will be completely transparent and show it to any restaurant that wants to follow it. We’ve studied this for the last few weeks on how to do this properly and safely. That is our No. 1 absolute concern. People are thinking that we’re economics oriented, but we have to take care of our customers first.”
Fansler will not be able to bring back all of his employees immediately, since the restaurants will not be operating at full-capacity. But he stressed that his employees and the general public has a desire to return to a somewhat-normal life with increased health precautions.
“Everybody wants to get back,” Fansler said. “The people that are still fearful, stay home. If you have immunity issues, you should stay home. It is a virus. It can hurt you. It can harm you, but the rest of the world wants to go on about their business and is willing to take the risk as they do in every other part of their life with other viruses around. We’ve paid the price. We’ve sheltered in place. Now it’s time to get back in place.”