Little Italy Restaurants Prepare For On-Site Dining As They Wait for State Approval

Under new state guidelines for on-site dining, reservations will be highly encouraged and people may be asked to wait in their car until a table becomes available

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It's been a little more than two months since restaurants across San Diego County closed their doors to on-site dining. Dine-in service could make a comeback soon if the state approves the county's accelerated phase 2 plan, but it won't look quite the same as before.

"For us here, we have literally measured the safety distance between the tables, so we're trying to keep the six foot distance between every guest," explained Dario Gallo, owner of Civico 1845 in Little Italy.

The family-owned Italian restaurant is working hard to change how they operate so that staff and customers stay safe. They're preparing to serve guests with masks and gloves, and San Diego County leaders are asking restaurants to open for reservations only.

"It's our goal to make our guests comfortable," Gallo said.

"We will give to all of our kitchen staff a face shield to be extra cautious, we will tape the different areas between each station in the kitchen," explained Gallo.

Separating tables could drop Civico 1845's seating capacity by up to 40%, according to Gallo. But he's also working with the Little Italy Association to move seating outside on the patio, sidewalk and piazza.

"That would be tremendous, especially for us. It will remind us of Italy, eating on the street and socially distancing," said Gallo.

Gallo said he wants his guests and staff to be comfortable once they begin serving once more.

Under the new guidelines, aside from prioritizing reservations, guests may be asked to wait in their car until their table is ready.

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