Restaurants, bars eager to welcome people back with no curfew

Business

SAN DIEGO – Can San Diegans stay up late anymore? Some bars and restaurants are asking that question as the county’s curfew, put into place to stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic, was lifted Wednesday.

The end of the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew this week coincides with San Diego County advancing into the state’s less restrictive orange tier.

A handful of downtown bars already were taking full advantage of the change Wednesday night, including Tin Roof on G Street. The bar also operates as a live music venue, meaning some of its most critical hours happen late into the evening.

“We’ve all been waiting for it down here in Gaslamp,” said Darrien Oliver, the bar’s general manager.

Oliver said he hopes the change will help boost the bar’s bottom line.

“As soon as I found out, I shot a text to whoever was working (to) let them know we’re staying open later,” he said, “We’re a live music joint, so I shot a text to our musician, Trey, who plays tonight. Extended his hours tonight, so looking forward to a rock star night.”

But others still are scrambling to return to normal operating hours and staffing difficulties are an issue across the board.

Herman Shoate, a manager at Bub’s At The Ballpark, said it might not be until the weekend until their establishment can stay open later. Staying open late means adding an entirely new shift, which has proven to be more difficult to fill than in the days before the pandemic, Shoate said.

“We’re hiring new folks,” he said. “Had some trouble getting new folks. A lot of people left the industry to find those 9-to-5 jobs (that) are more reliable.”

Some candidates found other jobs or simply don’t want to go back to work, Shoate said.

“It’s a little frustrating, but hey, it is what it is,” he said.

These places soon will learn how much the community has missed the night life. That’s an exciting prospect for Oliver.

“I feel like the adrenaline will be pumping so we’ll be good this weekend,” he said.

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