LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Most restaurants in Southern California have had to lay off a significant portion of their workforce.
Most of the restaurant owners want to hire those employees back, but they’re not sure they’ll be able to if they can’t serve as many customers once the safer-at-home restrictions begin to lift.
“We’re known for coming and dining and enjoying some of our 90 different tequilas,” said Armando Ramirez, the co-owner of El Portal in Pasadena.
Ramirez says it’s been a real struggle keeping the dining room closed to customers, because the restaurant is supposed to provide an experience, not just the food.
“We’re down about 85 to 90 percent,” he said, adding that they also laid off about 90 percent of their employees — some who have been with the restaurant as long as 25 years.
He doesn’t know how many of those cooks and servers he’ll be able to hire back.
Gov. Newsom recently shared his vision of how restaurants will run in the future, to maintain social distancing until there is herd immunity or a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Half of the tables in that restaurant no longer appear,” Newsom said during his daily briefing.
Ramirez said those guidelines would definitely make business more difficult, but he luckily has two dining rooms and a patio to seat customers. Smaller restaurants that have limited capacity to begin with may not be so lucky.
Newsom did not give a specific time frame for opening restaurants in Southern California, but he did say they may need to use disposable menus, masks, and gloves as well.