Downtown Morgan Hill is rising “out of the ashes” after public health officials lifted the Covid-19 order that prohibited outdoor dining. Kerry Wallace, Morgan Hill Downtown Association board member, said restaurants were encouraged to see dining patios busy with customers Jan. 30-31, the first weekend in months that saw both sunny weather and outdoor dining.
“The people visiting the downtown are very supportive of the restaurants,” said Wallace, who also owns Bubbles And Brew with her husband, David Dindak. “This past weekend was really busy. There were long waits to get into restaurants. Customers were very pleasant and tipping well, and have embraced the restaurants.”
After a prolonged fall and wintertime stay-at-home order that shut down indoor and outdoor dining from October through most of January, the added crowds are welcome. Some downtown Morgan Hill restaurants—including Bubbles And Brew and Ladera Grill—decided to close temporarily during those restrictions, but both have reopened for outdoor service and takeout since the governor lifted the latest order in late January.
As of January, downtown restaurants collectively have seen about a 50 to 60 percent drop in sales from the same time a year ago, Wallace said. Those losses are directly related to the Covid-19 pandemic and related business and gathering restrictions.
Still, according to Wallace, no restaurants in downtown Morgan Hill have had to permanently close, unlike thousands of small businesses nationwide that haven’t been able to survive.
Local organizations and nonprofits such as the City of Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce and Visit Morgan Hill have been helpful in supporting small businesses over the last year, Wallace said. A new program known as Meals For Heroes is an example, providing support for healthcare professionals as well as sales for local restaurants, Wallace noted.