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'Do Our Best, Wait For The Best': Sacramento Restaurants Pivot During Covid Surge

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Shorter hours, takeout only, and COVID testing clinics for restaurant industry workers and their families, are all ways restaurants are feeling the impacts of COVID and the surge of cases linked to the omicron variant.

Tables full of takeout orders sit inside a near-empty Mikuni in Midtown Sacramento, the only people inside are the restaurant's staff. The front doors are revolving on Saturday night as customers arrive, masked, to pick up their to-go orders.

Mikuni's owner, Taro Arai, said they made the call to do takeout only for a week, starting January 7th, due to COVID-related staffing shortages. Across nine restaurants, Arai said his team is exhausted but making the necessary changes to stay open and safe.

"Can't get the fish in, even to-go boxes, we're struggling to get those too," said Arai.

He said on top of the COVID-related shortages, finding ingredients like fish, soy sauce, or items like the to-go boxes have been a challenge due to supply chain issues and delays. Now, Arai said they're ordering at least 6 months out, with the hope that a full shutdown doesn't arrive as it did in 2020.

"We are hopeful, everything happens for a reason, and we just do our best and wait for the best," said Arai.

At Selland's restaurants in Sacramento and El Dorado Hills, adjustments to the hours due to COVID-related staff shortages.


Restaurant Industry Worker COVID Testing Clinics

Restaurants and their teams are taking care of their own, industry-wide. In a partnership with Global PPE Partners. PCR COVID testing is available at Sacramento-area restaurants for restaurant industry workers and their families into the week.

The COVID testing, an option that wasn't as accessible a year ago, is now a way the industry is taking care of its own.

One of the community members facilitating the COVID testing clinics for restaurants posted to Instagram details about the clinics, but also, a message of support for food industry teams once again faced with the impacts of COVID:

"Stay positive, mask up, smile with your eyes ????, and keeeeeeeep on supporting any way you can these restaurants and bars that are in the blender. They don't get paid to stay home, and are struggling to survive the winter. ☹️"

The Waterboy will host a COVID testing clinic on Sunday, January 9th from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for restaurant industry workers and their families.

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