'Moral responsibility': Some Bay Area restaurants temporarily closing for months over COVID surge

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- As the COVID omicron surge continues to spike, more Bay Area restaurants and bars are making a tough call, deciding to hit the pause button and close temporarily in the name of safety.

"These are really hard decisions and we're tired of trying to figure it out," Christian Albertson said.

Albertson just made one of the toughest choices of his career, deciding to put his San Rafael-Terra Linda restaurant, The Monk's Kettle, into a COVID hibernation.

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He's closing the doors temporarily until spring when the omicron surge may be subsiding.

"We feel a moral responsibility to provide guests and staff a safe environment to dine in, right now, it's a dangerous time," he added.

He says about 35 employees were laid off, none had recently tested positive for coronavirus.

"Upending everyone's life is really the hardest part about it," he said.

VIDEO: Days before New Year's Eve, some SF Castro bars close temporarily due to omicron surge
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With the omicron variant starting to surge, some San Francisco bars are making a difficult decision to close temporarily through Jan. 1.



Albertson's San Francisco location will remain open, but indoor dining will be eliminated.

Others are taking the same path.

Papermill Creek Saloon in West Marin told customers on Facebook it won't reopen until Jan. 12 to err on the side of caution.

San Francisco restaurants Piperaide, Che Fico and Cassava are among a growing list of eateries that are also closing temporarily due to the surge of new cases.

RELATED: As omicron variant spreads, Oakland bar voluntarily closes to protect staff before holidays

Four bars in the Castro voluntarily locked up over the holidays and hope to reopen soon.

"We already had one of our employees have a breakthrough COVID infection, we didn't want anyone else getting sick," said Moby Dick owner Joe Cappelletti.

The Golden Gate restaurant Association told ABC7 News:
"Lack of staff who can work and or concerned staff is having the effect of several restaurants having to temporarily close. This is only adding more stress and financial burden to an already stressed industry."

Christian Albertson says he looks forward to the day when it's safe to serve his loyal customers again.

"We will be back," he said.

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