SAN CLEMENTE (CBSLA) — There was a long line at Nomads Canteen in San Clemente Thursday as the restaurant opened again, despite shutdown orders, after running out of food and beverage over the weekend.

“We’re doing the best we can,” said owner Jeff Gourley. “The first weekend we got run over. We had a protest. When they came here they were not going to social distance, they were not going to wear masks, they’re not doing any of that, and we weren’t ready for that.”

“You can see today we’ve got three security guys and two waitresses, so that tells you how difficult this is,” he said.

Almost immediately after Nomads Canteen opened Thursday, people started to form a line out front because the owner was only able to fill about 40 percent of his seats.

Patrons waited about 30 to 45 minutes to get in.

“We’ve been barbecuing at someone’s house. It’s nice to get out and be around other people and eat something for a change,” said one diner.

Officials said a miscommunication between the Orange County Health Department and the Board of Supervisors resulted in the owner getting a warning violation, which has now been rescinded.

Gourley said he’s doing all within his power to follow the county’s new business guidelines in order to reopen safely.

“Our employees are wearing face coverings when they are within six feet from customers, and they are cycling in and out of their gloves when they are bussing and delivery. We are sterilizing everything from the pens they to the menus,” he said.

“I wanted to come down and have lunch and support him because I think people have to start stepping up and say, ‘no more,” said another diner.

Gourley said he loves the support, but he’s also heard from the other side.

“I’ve got people who want to burn me down and people who want me to run for governor,” he said.

While residents are flocking to Nomads, the manager of a burger place in the area fears that one restaurant’s defiance of the statewide orders could postpone reopening for everyone else.

“If people keep getting affected by the virus, you’re not going to want to reopen everything,” he said.

Comments (12)
  1. Natalie Goldstock says:

    Take your chances, folks! I am not in a rush to stand in a line for a meal. If the virus spikes, we will be back to square one. Nothing like defying an order and making it hard on other restaurant owners.

  2. Karen says:

    Reckless and Selfish.

    1. Kevin says:

      A real live Karen complaining.

      1. Ansel says:

        What else would a Karen be doing?

  3. Lori says:

    Scared? Then stay home. I’m ready to get out of the house.
    This virus has been in this state for a year which is why our numbers are down. We both got sick with this thing last fall along with a lot of other people.
    Stop listening to these idiots in charge – they have no idea what they’re doing other than wanting this country to fail.

    1. Mike says:

      Great. Please stay far away from me. No one I know is wanting this country to fail. You are listening to far right, bonkers political nonsense. You are spreading fake news. The virus has NOT been in the state for a year.

      1. Ansel says:

        Why would you unironically use the term ‘fake news’ and write in all caps. All it does is decrease all of the little validity your argument had in the first place.

        And because you couldn’t tell in the first place Lori wasn’t referring to a state as in a geographical state. State was being referred to as a state of being. In this context she is still wrong, just not as badly as you thought.

        As far as the “far right, bonkers political nonsense” goes, the left has has spread just as much nonsense as the right has. The whole pandemic has been over politicized and has become less of a problem and more of a political battleground.

  4. Ansel says:

    I think it’s a waste of time and potential for healthy people to be stuck inside. It has not been proven that social distancing stops the spread of the virus. For all we know all we are doing is slowing the virus down. This forced shelter in place and social distancing is a tax on society and has brought the country to a standstill. Students are missing out on their education, workers have lost jobs, the economy is suffering for the rich and the poor. We are sacrificing the livelihood of everyone in the country for an unproven recommendation which won’t even halt the spread of the virus

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