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Stockton Restaurant Week to kick off despite increasing COVID cases

Coordinators say participants will still be able to take advantage of some deals by using takeout and pickup services.

STOCKTON, Calif. — An annual event aiming to support local businesses in Stockton is still slated to kick off as planned despite the current COVID surge, coordinators say.

The kitchens at 28 local restaurants will be busy next week as Stockton Restaurant Week, hosted by Visit Stockton, continues for its 13th year.

"It's all about celebrating our local restaurants," said Wes Rhea, CEO of Visit Stockton. "We want to help them reinvigorate their post holiday season by driving traffic into their doors."

Rhea says he hopes the event will help small businesses struggling due to the COVID pandemic, a struggle that for many businesses has not yet ended. 

California is currently seeing a spike in COVID cases and experts say the peak has not yet hit.

"We always encourage our participants to be safe," Rhea said. "A lot of our restaurants are really enforcing those mask mandates as people enter the restaurant."

While some of the deals are for dine-in guests only, Rhea says some businesses will also be offering the discounts and deals for takeout and delivery.

"That's on a case-by-case basis. On restaurant week specials, most of ours are focused on dine-in," Rhea said. "If you don't feel like it's safe to dine out, we encourage folks to stay home and find another way to support our local restaurants."

The 10-day dining event kicks off Jan. 14 and ends Jan. 23. During the week, participating restaurants will be serving special menu items at special prices.

A full list of participating restaurants and information on the unique menus can be found on Visit Stockton's website.

"It's not just about a three course, prefixed price meal. There's a wide variety of opportunities for folks to get good value out there during this week," Rhea said.

This year, the organization is bringing back their mobile passport website. The mobile passport will let users check in at restaurants to receive more deals and enter for chances to win prizes. 

"It's our opportunity to reward folks for supporting Stockton Restaurant Week and giving them an opportunity to go back out and dine again after the event," Rhea said.

Watch More from ABC10: Little Manila: A look into the rich history of Filipino Americans in Stockton, California

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