Restaurants experience first weekend under new curfew

Business
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SAN DIEGO — San Diego County was under a new 10 p.m. curfew for the first time this weekend with restaurants and bars primarily feeling the loss of an extra hour of business.

The curfew came a week after businesses were required to stop indoor service because of a spike in COVID-19 cases. New daily cases have remained high and to add another layer of uneasiness, Los Angeles County announced it will suspend outdoor dining entirely.

“I feel for them up there, because anybody that owns a business right now, it’s either feast or famine and I don’t know anybody that’s feasting,” Cesar Vallin, managing partner at Cloak and Petal in Little Italy, said.

Vallin said the new restrictions in store for Los Angeles are surprising. He said he’s putting his best foot forward, having dealt with many changes so far this year.

“There’s nothing they could do, at least to me, that’s going to freak me out anymore,” he said. “So I just take it one day at a time and focus on what’s in our control.”

For Cloak and Petal, that included bringing the inside aesthetic outside with elaborate new outdoor dining setups. Vallin said it’s been a big investment.

“We’ve had to spend upwards of $25,000 to $30,000 with heaters, turf and all kinds of things, every single time,” he said.

Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter have thrived as much as possible with outdoor-only restrictions but restaurants are still struggling. Vallin said the new curfew Saturday came with a loss of revenue for Cloak and Petal and similar late night spots. He said still, everyone is trying to do their part and obey health orders.

“What I’ve seen, I see everybody following the guidelines. I don’t think anybody is trying to get into more trouble or trying to ruin it for anybody else. We had everybody out of here by 10:05 p.m. the other day,” Vallin said.

The limit on outdoor dining in Los Angeles County starts Wednesday and is expected to last three weeks. FOX 5 asked San Diego County leaders if a similar measure is being considered for our area. The county said Monday it was not considering suspending outdoor dining entirely “at this time.”

The 10 p.m. curfew for counties in the state’s most-restrictive purple tier will last through Dec. 21.

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