As the Shelter at Home order began to take effect across the Central Coast in mid-March, restaurants were having to decide whether to stay open in a limited capacity or shut down for the time being. Given that most folks in the community a) love to eat out b) want to support local businesses c) would need to be strategic when leaving their houses, there was growing confusion around which restaurants were actually open and able to provide food options to the general public. Additionally, for the restaurants that remained open, they were having to adjust their services (i.e., sit down restaurants and bars would need to offer “curbside pick-up” or “delivery” that had not previously done so). Plus, many restaurants that were choosing to remain open in some capacity were adjusting their hours and not always remembering to update their status across their different online channels.
So on March 20, we launched a Facebook Group intended to help restaurants cope with the COVID-19 restrictions while offering a forum for customers to post pictures of food and updates about what they’ve discovered about a particular restaurant’s current status or operations. The Facebook Group now has over 3,700 members and allows customers to ask questions about food options
As the Group began to grow and more restaurants were added to the page, we decided to build a list of all of these restaurants, complete with their names, phone numbers, food type, hours of operations, service capabilities and more. The list now includes over 550 restaurants! The list even has separate tabs for different regions: North County (Paso Robles and Atascadero area), SLO, Coastal (Morro Bay Area), Five Cities (Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach area), Santa Maria and Lompoc (includes Buellton area). The list can be found at bit.ly/centralcoastfood
Sensing that the community wanted to find a way to both help the restaurants AND show gratitude to our Health Care Workers, the Facebook Group launched an initiative to feed at least 100 hospital workers daily through various restaurants across the Central Coast. These meals are donated by the community (not the hard-hit restaurants) through pre-purchased meals bought at Participating Restaurants for $10/each. The hope is that when customers order from a Participating Restaurant, they will pay for their own food and then also buy some meals for the SLO an