Smoke impacts outdoor dining for East Bay restaurants already struggling during COVID-19

One restaurant in Lafayette says 80 guests canceled Thursday night due to the smoky conditions and poor air quality.

ByLauren Martinez KGO logo
Friday, August 21, 2020
Smoke impacts outdoor dining at struggling East Bay restaurants
Some Bay Area restaurants are relying heavily on outdoor dining to stay in business all while meeting COVID-19 protocols. But smoke from the wildfires is now keeping some diners away.

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- Some Bay Area restaurants are relying heavily on outdoor dining to stay in business all while meeting COVID-19 protocols. But smoke from the wildfires burning across the Bay Area is now keeping some diners away.

Enzo Rosano owns Locanda Positano in Lafayette. He said they almost had 100 customers Thursday evening but 80 canceled.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Track wildfires across San Francisco, other parts of CA

"It's tough because you know you cannot sit inside, you cannot sit outside. At least thank God we have a lot of response from people that to-go, and you know that really helps you know," Rosano said.

Rosano said this is a family restaurant and they have a lot of support.

"People from the peninsula, San Carlos, San Mateo- a lot of wonderful friends come here," Rosano said.

He's the youngest of nine kids from Naples, Italy. He said he's worked from having nothing to expanding his restaurant to Pleasanton.

VIDEO: Bay Area shrouded in smoke as Northern California wildfires rage

From Oakland to Point Reyes, smoke enveloped the Bay Area as fires scorched Northern California.

"We will be fine, we just got to work through this hard time - things will come back," Rosano said.

Lafayette resident Rachel Blatt said the smoke is hard for her kids now homeschooling. "I have a seven year-old and an eleven year-old and they can't go outside. So they're in school all day- in theory- on the computer doing Zoom and then they want to do something and run around and burn off that energy and they can't," Blatt said.

Around the corner, David Roberson owns Bonehead's Texas BBQ where he said there is a big difference on his patio.

"We would generally have between 15-30 rotating through- throughout the night but tonight is a totally different story," Roberson said.

RELATED: Staggering photos show scope of wildfires' devastation

Roberson said they used to cater everyday, now they get a catering call once a week.

"Our catering business is dried up- gone- of course, and then with these fires with these fires starting, it's just been horrendous," Roberson said.

"There's just not enough that we can miss anything- really. We're already missing a lot. And then to have another hit like this is just tremendous," Roberson said.

Roberson said they'll get through it. He appreciates all the support from the community and has no plans on closing.

"Absolutely not, we will not shut down. We haven't shut down nor anticipate it. My employees were not laid off. Every one of them were working. I've had a number that are about to go back to college and I just hired five new people this week ," Roberson said.