Berkeley restaurants offer modified pickup, delivery services

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In light of the shelter-in-place order, many local restaurants have modified their services to make deliveries and pickups accessible and sanitary.

Many establishments across the city of Berkeley have experienced a drop in business because of the spread of COVID-19. Due to the enforcement of social distancing measures and the shelter-in-place order, Berkeley restaurants are not offering dine-in services, and many are implementing curbside pickup, no-contact pickup or various types of delivery services.

“They are all struggling and some are worried that they may not make it through this. Some businesses are finding ways to adapt through online sales, however that is not an option for everyone,” said Alex Knox, executive director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District, in an email.

Six counties in the Bay Area, including Alameda County, issued a shelter-in-place order. This began March 17 and will last until at least May 1. On March 19, California Gov. Gavin Newsom also issued a statewide “stay at home” order without a specific end date.

According to the city of Berkeley’s website, the shelter-in-place order allows people to leave their homes to buy food and purchase other necessary items. The city also encourages businesses that sell these items to remain open.

Food delivery services, such as Postmates and DoorDash, are also modifying their services to adapt to the pandemic.

“If businesses are able to continue operating they are relying more heavily on delivery services. The City of Berkeley is asking restaurants and other open businesses to use a curb-side only system for take-out,” Knox said in the email.

Chipotle waived its delivery fees through the end of March and introduced a “tamper evident packaging seal,” according to Chipotle spokesperson Stefani Green.

Customers can also leave instructions in their order for contactless delivery.

“The health and safety of our employees and customers is our top priority for the organization,” Green said in an email.

Green also said Chipotle has increased pay for restaurant employees that work from March 16 to April 12 and has expanded their emergency leave benefits.

Many local restaurants are making similar service changes and measures. Lists of restaurants that are still open and their modifications can be found online at the Visit Berkeley and Telegraph Business Improvement District websites, among others.

“Everyone can find a way to help by shopping at their favorite local businesses but the one of the most important things people can do is to donate to the Berkeley Relief Fund as soon as possible,” Knox said in the email. “Keep up with our small businesses through their websites and social media to check for promotions and offers. They are working hard to provide services and will really benefit from having more people sharing and engaging with them online.”

Contact Taylor Rudman at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @TaylorRudman.