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ENCINITAS, Calif. – Local restaurant owners are listening closely to the new guidelines being set forward by California Gov. Gavin Newom, and they fear that reopening for sit-down service might take longer than they hoped.  

“We are all still very apprehensive,” said Brian Malarkey, the well-known San Diego restauranteur and owner of Herb and Sea in Encinitas and several other restaurants. 

The guidelines for a new potential reopening include COVID-19 testing for staff members, social distancing for customers, personal protective equipment for staff and diners, no shared bread baskets, single-use disposable menus and many other new requirements. 

The big issue for most restaurants is the lowering of capacity  of their dinin rooms to maintain social distancing.  

“Our margins have always been very low even at a 100% (capacity), so taking us at 25 or 50% is not feasible,” said Malarkey  

Restaurant owners fear with so many safety requirements, they will not be able to reopen in the early stages of the pandemic. 

“We have one shot of opening up again, and it’s not going to be this — with these intense restrictions,” said Malarkey