Cabo Coming Out of the Pandemic Woodwork

BY: FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ

In response to the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918; which spread rapidly and was as fatal for infants and healthy adults as it was for older people, most American cities closed schools, churches, movie theaters, dancehalls, pool halls, and alcohol serving saloons. Yet restaurants remained open.

Today, The National Restaurant Association counts a little more than a million restaurants operating in the U.S., employing over 15 million people. In contrast, there may have been 100,000 restaurants in the United States during 1918.  

American and Mexican public health officials have been recommending new measures: 1) avoid crowds, 2) wear a mask, 3) wash your hands, and 4) practice social distancing. Restaurants have always been public places where people can go to sit at their own tables, talk among themselves, eat their own meals, pay their bills and tip their server. Because of the lengthy closures mandated by health and government officials, it is estimated that 75 percent of independently-owned restaurants may never re-open. 

During the quarantine lockdown, which lasted from the middle of March through early July, a great deal of Los Cabos restaurants that never offered home delivery service was suddenly in the home-delivery business. It was done more out of a necessity to survive than anything else. An industry survey conducted before the coronavirus outbreak hit indicated that drive-thru, takeout, and delivery services accounted for 60 percent of all restaurant orders. Since the lockdowns, even the very high profile restaurants have adapted to delivering meals. 

In Cabo San Lucas, the coronavirus protocols and safeguards at the newly re-opened restaurants include the following: valet parking, where they sanitize every vehicle for customers when returning it to them after their meal. It is available at Daikoku and Romeo y Julieta. The body temperature check at the door is standard at nearly every open dining establishment, which includes Daikoku, Romeo y Julieta, Solomon's Landing, Baja Cantina, Tiki Bar, Agua Salada, Tanga Tanga, Cabo Cantina, John's Place, Nicksan's, Giggling Marlin, Jungle Bar, Hooliganz Bar, Abolengo, El Squid Roe, Hard Rock Cafe, Los Tres Gallos, and Casa Amigos, as well as the others along Miguel Hidalgo Street, such as Pancho's, Los Barriles, La Dolce, and Mama's Royal Cafe.  

At Daikoku, and John's Place, they have “Sanitized Table” signs, clearly marked, and their staff sanitizes every table used by guests immediately after they leave. At Daikoku, you can scan the bar code on their menu with your phone and never have to touch a tangible menu to order your meal. Other restaurants simply sanitize their menus immediately after it's been used and before the next table makes use of it. Sanitizing everything in front of patrons and restaurant visitors is the new normal.

At Daikoku, there are plexiglass “windows” at social-distance tables between the waiter and customer. Salvador Chavarria, who arrived in Cabo San Lucas 7 years ago and has been employed as a food server at Daikoku's during that same amount of time, feels as safe as can be during the re-opening because of all the protocols the staff adheres to.

"Tourists are being checked at home before they board their plane, and again once they arrive at the airport and a third time when they check into their hotel resort, and again when they enter our wonderful dining establishments," he said. 

Daikoku, along with Nicksan, are the only two restaurants that are using a "Sanitizing Panel," which looks more like the telephone booth in which Clark Kent changed into Superman.

"It’s supposed to kill the virus," added Chavarria. "I think it’s main component is hydrogen peroxide."

A person steps into this glass box and a mist falls upon their body and once "cleansed," they simply enter, get their table and dine.

"I would walk through it 20 times right now if I could go on vacation," noted Jackie Garcia of Phoenix, Arizona. 

Most all of the restaurants mentioned here offer modest menu prices for the regular selections, while only Nicksan, Romeo y Julieta and Solomon's Landing are a tad more expensive. 

At Solomon's Landing live music has been available every Friday from 5- 10 p.m., featuring five different bands or musicians that have included Robert Lee, Lisa Saunders Caborado Band, Marty and Billie Daniels from Two for the Road Jazz Club, Daline Jones, Dave and Family, and Kevin Daniel's Dos Huevos Band. At Tanga Tanga, live music performances start at 7 p.m., and Casa Amigos live music is featured on Fridays around the same hours. 

At Cabo Cantina, during the afternoons between the hours of 2-5 p.m., guests are entertained by the music of Mauri Acuna on keyboard/percussion and the lovely Estrella on vocals, as well as the random appearances of Mauri's friends that rock the house with an assortment of rock & roll classics, as well as blues and jazz favorites. 

Nearly every restaurant mentioned can be found on Facebook with the hours they are open, menus, prices and location as well as a contact phone number for reservations and or further information. Only bars, that also serve as restaurants are open during this pandemic. All bars that only serve alcohol remain closed. 

Restaurants also had to jump through several government hoops in order to get approved for re-opening. Passing several guidelines and safety protocols before getting back to the business of serving great meals, and welcoming tourists back after what seems like a long time.