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Napa’s Fumé Bistro ends on-site dining after visit by Alcoholic Beverage Control
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Napa’s Fumé Bistro ends on-site dining after visit by Alcoholic Beverage Control

From the Napa Valley Wine Insider Digest: Jan. 8, 2021 series
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Terry Letson at Fumé Bistro

Terry Letson, co-owner of Fumé Bistro & Bar in Napa, had continued to allow on-site dining on an outdoor patio despite a statewide order barring restaurants from offering table service, indoors or out. A letter issued by the restaurant Tuesday on Facebook announced it would switch to carry-out service only.

After 2 ½ weeks of defying a state ban on on-premises restaurant dining amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic, Fumé Bistro & Bar in north Napa announced Tuesday evening it has reverted to serving customers only by takeout, after continuing to open an enclosed dining patio.

Spokespeople for the Napa city and county governments confirmed the move Wednesday, saying it followed their joint referral of the case last week to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which issues liquor licenses to eateries.

The ABC on Monday visited the restaurant at 4050 Byway East and cited it for violating health orders, according to agency spokesperson John Carr. The bureau is in the process of filing an administrative action against Fumé’s state license and will monitor its compliance with state law, he said in an email Wednesday afternoon.

In a letter posted to the eatery’s Facebook page, Fumé Bistro’s owner Terry Letson announced the switch to carry-out service, but urged an end to the on-premises dining ban that took effect Dec. 18, disputing restaurants’ role in furthering the spread of COVID-19.

“We want to emphasize the precautions our industry has taken by distancing, sanitizing, masking, limiting occupancy and eliminating indoor dining to ensure the safety of our customers,” he wrote, asserting that restaurants serving customers outside are being unfairly targeted by the package of business restrictions California imposed last month as intensive-care units in the Bay Area fell below 15% vacancy as infections and illnesses surged.

The three-week state order, which also closes wine tasting rooms and hair salons while curbing capacity at grocery and retail businesses, is set to run through Friday, but could be extended based on the Bay Area’s continuing dearth of ICU space. Regional capacity was 7.4% on Wednesday, well below the level needed to lift the order.

Calling the prohibition of on-site dining “unprecedented and unwarranted,” Letson pointed to the steep losses borne by the restaurant industry since the first stay-at-home orders took effect in March.

“Restaurants must be approved for outdoor dining soon,” he said. “Our industry has suffered catastrophic financial consequences through this pandemic and continues to be penalized without corroborating data.”

KGO-TV Channel 7, ABC’s San Francisco affiliate, earlier reported that Fumé’s dine-in customers included several on New Year’s Day who did not wear masks.

Since March, the pandemic has resulted in 359,445 deaths nationwide and 27,462 deaths in California, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University and the state Department of Public Health.

WATCH NOW: ALMOST 30,000 JOBS LOST IN RESTAURANT AND DINING SECTOR IN 2020

HEART OF THE VALLEY: OUTSTANDING MEMBERS OF THE NAPA VALLEY COMMUNITY

Heart of the Valley: Meet outstanding members of the Napa County community

Each year the Napa Valley Register runs a series of community profiles to shine a spotlight on unsung individuals whose actions have made a difference in the lives of others in Napa County.

You can reach Howard Yune at 530-763-2266 or hyune@napanews.com

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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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