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Business Owners Question New Mandate Requiring Names, Phone Numbers Of Customers

The chef of Hunan Chinese Restaurant working in the restaruant's kitchen in R...

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: The chef of Hunan Chinese Restaurant working in the restaruant's kitchen in Rancho Bernardo. Sept. 2, 2020.

This week across the county restaurants, gyms, salons and other businesses are reopening with restrictions following new COVID-19 guidelines — this time establishments are required to take contact information from customers in the event of an outbreak.

The mandate requires businesses to take down the names and phone numbers of everyone who comes inside.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

"I do think that it’s a little uncomfortable," said Alison Yu, who's family owns Hunan Chinese Restaurant in Rancho Bernardo. "Having to constantly tell a guest that and they’re not expecting it."

Hunan Chinese just reopened their dining room on Monday after doing just takeout and limited patio seating for the last couple months and worries this new requirement could drive away customers.

RELATED: Some Local Business Owners Say New Reopening Guidelines Don’t Go Far Enough

"A lot of people aren’t in the loop," Yu said.

While she may not like it, Yu understands it is a mandate and is complying in order to help health officials contact trace if there was a positive case or outbreak reported.

"This is something that really makes it hard to run a business and now they want us to take personal information down from customers," said Ben Clevenger who is the president of San Diego chapter of the California Restaurant Association.

Clevenger is also the owner of restaurants Eastbound in Lakeside and The Hills in La Mesa. He said the association has been working closely with county health officials during the pandemic, but were caught off guard by the new mandate.

Video by Roland Lizarondo

"We’re trying to adhere to everything possible that makes the safety of our staff and patrons the number one priority, and this just doesn’t seem like something that goes toward that," Clevenger said.

County health officials do not believe they are asking for too much.

"We don’t want restaurants or all of the businesses to send this to us we want them to keep it on hand for three weeks," San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. "This information will help with our contact tracing efforts and help us be more efficient."

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Luke Wood, SDSU's vice president for student affairs and campus diversity, said all in-person classes —200 mostly lab work classes — would move online, and all students who have moved ... Read more →

Aired: September 3, 2020 | Transcript

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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
Health Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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