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Sign of the times 

On March 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked wineries, bars, nightclubs, and brewpubs to close their doors to customers to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The governor's request is not mandatory as of March 16, so check each venue's website or get creative. The governor also asked restaurants to limit their venues to half-capacity or only serve take-out food. ... Following the governor's order, as of March 18, the city of San Luis Obispo ordered that all bars, breweries, and wine-tasting facilities be closed to the public in response to the coronavirus pandemic. City Manager Derek Johnson also ordered all city restaurants to close indoor and outdoor seating, and they may only offer pick-up or delivery food. The temporary restriction excludes production facilities that do not include customer or other public contact. Bars, breweries, pubs, or other alcohol establishments that include full meals provided by a full kitchen have to adhere to the restaurant guidelines and may provide only for pick-up or delivery options. Coffee shops are considered "restaurants" and may continue to offer pick-up service, but can no longer provide indoor or outdoor seating for customers. All pick-up areas must provide adequate space for 6 feet of separation between waiting customers and provide for hand sanitation. The city has made free parking zones throughout downtown SLO to support restaurants' ability to provide pick-up services to customers. "We all have a responsibility to protect our community during this emergency," City Manager Johnson said in a statement. "The health and safety of our community remains our top priority." ... The SLO Food Bank is working with its partners to serve neighbors in need, while ensuring the health and safety of the community. "As schools close and businesses reduce operations, more of our fellow community members will need food assistance," Donna Lewis, SLO Food Bank board president, said in a statement. The SLO Food Bank is currently working with the school districts and other partner agencies to ensure continuity of service and to set up additional food distributions of shelf-stable and fresh food. "Currently, we have more requests for food assistance than we can process," said Tim Parker, director of operations. The Food Bank is also upping its sanitization and safety measures and is pre-bagging food to minimize crowds at distribution sites. That prep work means a greater need for volunteers and monetary donations. Volunteers must be 16 years or older, show no signs of respiratory illness, and follow all recommended guidelines to reduce the contact with and spread of COVID-19. Those interested in donating or volunteering should visit If you or someone you know needs food, please visit the SLO Food Bank Food Locator,, to get up-to-date information on scheduled distributions or call the Food Bank at (805) 238-4664.

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