On May 22, the County of Sacramento took its first test of how the new normal will look like when some of the restrictions issued by the state were lifted right before the Memorial Day holiday.

Queen Sheba owner Zion Taddese has kept the doors of her restaurant open since the shelter-in-place order went into effect. (photo by Ray)

The county implemented the state’s Stage 2’s “Resilience Roadmap” that allowed more businesses to resume operations when the county’s Public Health Order ended at noon.

Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said retailers can now open the cash registers to business, with the exception of boundaries put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

But Stage 2 is fully activated and restaurants can open their doors to their dining rooms for in-person meals, a slight departure from the drive-thru and pick-up orders they have been doing for more than two months.

Now African American restaurant owners and employees can become, again, near fully operational.

In a ZOOM meeting hosted by the Black Small Business Association of California, the county’s Director of Health Services Dr. Peter Beilenson told participants that the state’s Department of Health hopes all abide by special guidelines.

Dr. Beilenson also told the Black community leaders, representatives from the city of Sacramento, proprietors of restaurants that the county does have the ability through the guidelines to protect the public and essential workers to make Stage 2 work effectively.

“But the bottom line is the general restrictions, a 12-page guide are basically six or seven different things,” Dr. Beilenson said.

Dr. Beilenson was able to share some items of importance with the participants.

Tables must be six feet apart, certain tables can only be used by a mother, father, and their children, and all cooks must wear face masks.

In addition, paper menus must be discarded after use (no plastic covering menus allow), patrons may have to stay outside of the restaurant until the table is ready and customers must answer questions about COVID-19 symptoms at the door.

Zion Taddese, the owner of Queen Sheba in Sacramento, has been open since the shelter-in-place order went into effect March 19. Her restaurant has been available for pick-up orders and it is a member of the state program that serves seniors three times each day.

Ms. Taddese looked forward to opening her dining room for patrons but she was a little leery about how the guidelines will dictate how her business functions. Ms. Taddese wants to know “how do we survive this thing,” she said.

“It’s still a little confusing,” Ms. Taddese said during the ZOOM meeting. “Do we have 10 people or do we have 20 people in the restaurant? We’re just trying to be ready. If the (guidelines) say only 20 people, imagine 40 to 60 people turn up. Then how do we navigate all of those things?

For more information about the restaurant guidelines and the state’s Stage 2’s Resilience Roadmap and other COVID-19 updates, visit saccounty.net.

Provided by the Black Small Business Association, here is a list of Black restaurants in the Sacramento area that reopened their dining rooms this Memorial Day weekend.

  • D’s Smoking Pit, (916) 993-9428;
  • Daddyo’s Smokehouse, (916) 821-9020;
  • Dubplate Kitchen & Jamaican Cuisine, (916) 339-6978;
  • Ermajeans Southern Cuisine Restaurant and catering, (530) 749-9651;
  • Family Pizza Take n Bake, (916) 333-3397;
  • Fixins Soul Kitchen, (916) 999-7685;
  • Flower’s Fish Market, (916) 456-0719;
  • Louisiana Heaven, (916) 689-4800;
  • MacQue’s Barbeque (South Sac Location), (916) 381-4119; MacQue’s Barbeque (Elk Grove Location), (916) 714-2910;
  • Mo’Betta Finger Foods On Wheels, (916) 307-9511;
  • MoMo’s Meat Market, (916) 452-0202;
  • Queen Sheba, (916) 446-1223;
  • Shakey Js (916) 661-6750;
  • South Restaurant, 916-382-9722;
  • Stage Coach (916) 422-9296;
  • Tori’s Place Soul Food, (916) 646-6038.

By Antonio R. Harvey | OBSERVER Staff Writer