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Struggling Napa Businesses Falling Victim To 'COVID Burnout'

NAPA (CBS SF) -- The COVID pandemic has taken a financial toll on businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, but Napa County somehow thrived as the local getaway. Until now.

It's not just about people feeling uncomfortable dining out or traveling during the current omicron surge. Businesses are short staffed and some restaurants aren't even getting deliveries to be able to serve their customers.

Erin Escalera, the owner of Red Rock Cafe describes it as -- "Burnout. COVID burnout."

Red Rock Cafe opened in 1976 and is a well known local spot for burgers and BBQ. This week, without any notice, one of their suppliers missed a shipment.

"Another meat producer didn't have a meat delivery and just left us in a lurch," Escalera said. "If it wasn't for the other smaller guy, I would've been in big trouble."

It's a predicament many in the restaurant industry have experienced in the last couple of weeks.

Mike Casey, co-owner of Dutch Door, is among those trying to weather the storm.

"The supply chain stuff and distribution and inflation is definitely a headache and tough for everybody," he told KPIX.

Dutch Door in downtown Napa serves up sandwiches and salads. The cost to do businesses has more than tripled in some cases.

"I just ordered compostable salad bowls," Casey said. "It used to be about 20 cents and now they're over 70 cents."

Restaurant owners say customers have been understanding about having to raise the prices.

"But we're still losing money at this point," Escalera said. "So it's tough. It's really tough all around."

And with declining sales since the new year, many fear it's going to take a while longer to get back to business as usual.

Casey has one request for his customers -- "Just patience is key probably. That's really the important thing. A lot of folks are kind of getting back to normal. For restauranteurs it's been two years of really challenging times and it's not getting any easier."

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