COVID-19 comes to Big Sur

***I have turned off comments for this post. It doesn’t matter which restaurant. Since this published, I have heard of several others, but not verified. Cars packed all parking lots and along both sides of the highway from Nepenthe to River Inn Saturday. Lots of out of state plates. Whichever businesses that did not have it before, will in the next few weeks. It will spread all up and down the coast as it has along every major artery along the east coast, thru the south and in the west and mid-west. As Sharen Carey says, “Assume it is here and act accordingly.” Now we know it is. Make your own choices for you, but always wear a mask for others.***

Big Sur went over three months without a single case of coronavirus. The quarantines, social distancing and masks had worked, but it couldn’t stay closed forever. The closure was taking its toll on businesses and employees. And so, like the rest of Monterey County, and the State of California, we opened in stages.

After restaurants were opened for indoors dining, a restaurant was informed by an employee that s/he had tested positive for the virus on Thursday. The restaurant immediately implemented all workplace exposure guidelines put out by the Monterey Health Department and notified them. The restaurant also told the employee to stay home until cleared by his/her health care provider.

Friday evening, a notice went out to all employees about the exposure. Testing was implemented on any employee who may have been within six feet of the employee for 15 minutes or more. Every guideline was met and implemented.

I contacted the manager of the restaurant for any further information early this morning, but he did not respond. I also contacted two other Big Sur businesses to see if the restaurant manager had provided any information to them, and neither was aware that COVID-19 had shown up in Big Sur.

I contacted Sharen Carey, Executive Director of the Big Sur Health Center who told me that there are currently two cases of COVID in Big Sur. Of course, due to privacy concerns, no further information is available about either case.

We will probably never know if this case was caught from a visitor outside the area, from a family or friend, or while in town. There are many variables that come into play. As Sharen Carey has been telling us for three months, assume it is here, and act accordingly. Implement social distancing, wear masks, and stay home if sick or high risk.

Sometimes, I have to wonder if I will ever get to visit my favorite Big Sur places again. I miss them, and my friends. I don’t think being a hermit becomes me.

For insight into other rural “gateway” communities facing this pandemic and the need to open to survive, see:\


18 thoughts on “COVID-19 comes to Big Sur

  1. Hi, my husband and I were in Big Sur on Thursday (we live in Carmel Valley). We had lunch in Big Sur. Do you know which restaurant the person worked at? As we are in the high risk category, please let us know, if possible, the name of the restaurant by private email.

    Many thanks,
    Diane B.

  2. If you’re in the high risk category, why do you come out in the first place?

  3. Huh? The employee knew s/he had tested positive and went to work? Oh boy…America is never going to get out of the 1st wave!!

  4. Dude, you’re responding to hermits, all hermits now. It’s a lifestyle and you should embrace it. You’re actually not alone…
    Telling them the name of the restaurant might matter. Why people in “high risk” category are out there is less important than giving them the chance to trace, if need be.

  5. Could do without the snarky remark about “if you’re in the high risk category, why do you come out in the first place?”

  6. Lisa- The infected employee may have called the employer to share their test results. Kate only said that employee told the employer. Nothing was mentioned about them talking face to face.

  7. So sorry to hear this virus has arrived in your area. It seems that there’s no place that’s truly safe without social distancing seeing how this is the only country in the world where wearing a mask, or not, has become a political statement. Sad.

  8. Is the restaurant still serving the masses? People who ate and eat their need to know! Contact tracing will help. I live in Big Sur and this is no bueno. Many businesses in Big Sur have onsite housing- I went to check my PO Box yesterday and more people out and about than I have seen since June 2019- whatever happened to slow the spread? And many people were not wearing masks.

  9. It doesn’t effing matter which restaurant or which employee, I am sure all restaurants will all have employees testing positive in the near future just because of California opening up … Do what we have been doing all along. Safe Distance yourself from others, wear your mask while out in public and amongst friends, and maybe family, and remember to wash your hands often! Lets all of us locals use our heads as most others don’t … similar to driving, be aware and drive defensibly as most others don’t. Protect yourself as no one else will!

  10. I believe it is unacceptable that there has been no notification to the community about this from either the business or the health officials. Being that we are such a small close niche community, there is a lot of unavoidable contact throughout the entire community. By knowing, at the bare minimum, where this employee that tested positive worked, there is a lot of contact tracing that can be done and precaution testing can take place for any suspected contacts. Again, being such a small community, the direct and indirect contact to this individual has the potential for being very large percentage of the residents here. Testing of possible contacts can help stop a surge of more cases.

    The only thing I see can help counter this at this point is for every person who has had contact with any employee or patron of any restaurant in Big Sur to be tested immediately. There is the problem with capacity the local health center has with testing but without the locals having any insight, it’s the only thing that can be done to help stop continued spread.

  11. JK – it will probably come up at the weekly COVID meeting this week and then be distributed throughout the community. But I admit I was surprised than the business community wasn’t notified.

  12. it is in my opinion that the shit just needs to runs its course, coarse or korse

    theres soooo much mis n disinformation everywhere n keeping it corraled is seemingly making the actual cases worse

    Ppl die n ppl live. all 7 billion+ of good ol humans. wear a cover for safety n respect, have way above average hygien n since the govts payin the phuck outta us……stay in ur pueblo n brainstorm ways to change earths existence.

    as for me, this has shown me that we work cuz we had to n now that i dont n im not real poor, ive realized that the time i have, idk wtf to do
    im bored n our globe has nothing to offer but unhealthy choices…tv food n big pharma

    time to burn down the old ways n dorect energy towards the stars m all the awesome energy n paths the universe offers and encompasses 💗🎵🎶

    The End

    didnt proofread n yes. im on the marijuana

  13. No, it should not. There are privacy concerns. HIPPA. It will come out eventually, but not from me. And what difference does it make anyway? If one has covid, the others will, too — probably within the month,

  14. I completely agree with magical gnome hat and JK about the contact tracing. I’m local, up the highway a few miles, and had lunch at Nepenthe on June 20th. It would be responsible public health policy for people to be notified, in general terms, as via contact tracing probably not possible.

  15. It really doesn’t matter which restaurant. I’ve already gotten reports covid is at other businesses as well. Saturday, cars filled all the parking lots and parked along the side of the rode from Nepenthe to River Inn. It will be spread all over Big Sur, at least along the highway. If your are concerned, don’t go to any place that caters to tourists. Out of state license plates are all over.

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