LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Some restaurants in Orange County and Riverside County were happy to welcome patrons for the first time in months after officials allowed them to offer dining-in.
“People can start living instead of being afraid,” said Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel. “I’m looking forward to seeing things flourish again. Every one of our businesses is extremely important, and they can open safely, responsibly and successfully.”
While the crowds were considerably smaller, business owners say they’re just happy to have their doors open, even if they’re at half-capacity.
“I think it’s going to go well,” said Ed Patrick of Chaak Kitchen in Tustin. “There’s a lot of people that are sort of done with this whole pandemic situation and they want to get back in and get to normal.”
Business is back, yes, but the atmosphere is far from normal. Tables are distanced six feet apart and servers are wearing face shields or masks.
At Law’s Restaurant in Riverside, there was a long line of customers excited to break their stay-at-home streak, including couples and families. Owner Michael Huddleston chose to re-open the dining room there and his two-outdoor patios.
“We have taken out of action about half of our tables,” Huddleston said. “There are no barstools at the bar.”
Riverside County said coronavirus cases are stable and they haven’t seen a surge. Along with offering dining-in, retail can also offer in-person services.
Despite that, some people say they won’t go back to activities like sitting down at a restaurant until there’s a vaccine.
“Not at all. It’s not safe. If it’s not safe for kids to go to school, why would it be safe for us to dine in a place to eat?” said Alicia Pacheco.
While restaurants can get back to business in Riverside and Orange Counties, patrons are still expected to practice physical distancing by staying about six feet apart from others.
Despite the new changes that would allow restaurants to offer dining-in, many are choosing to continue with delivery and pick-up as they weigh their options.