HERMOSA BEACH (CBSLA) — Friday night marked the first, and maybe happiest, happy hour around L.A. County in a while, as bars were able to reopen after three months shut down due to coronavirus.
On a pre-pandemic Friday night, the pier at Hermosa Beach would have been packed with people. Now, the crowds are much thinner — and, for most people, that’s just fine.
“We need this, we need to get back to life as normal…” said Dan Wagner.
Except, it’s not exactly business as usual. Some hosts will be checking temperatures along with IDs before customers can come in for a cold one. Patrons will have to chat up their bar mates from a social distance and from behind a mask.
“I’m totally for it, everybody is keeping their distance and wearing their mask and I feel very safe,” Wagner said.
While most were happy to abide by the guidelines, they still made for a jarring first experience back in a bar.
Patrick Molloy’s hasn’t yet reopened the actual bar. One of the toughest hurdles might be that the health department says customers can only sit at the bar if they are six feet from other customers and from the bartender. Managers are still figuring out how that will work.
“We want make sure we’re following all the rules and also giving good service,” Tsujimura said.
Whatever it looks like, customers seem willing to adapt.
“We gotta do what we gotta do. It’s that simple,” said Hank Alvarez. “If [that means] wearing a mask all the time, I have no problem with it whatsoever, it’s part of life. It’s a new thing we gotta get used to it, like 9/11 we adjusted, now this, we adjust again.”
Others are adjusting more slowly — not quite ready to be out at a bar, or even an outdoor restaurant, just yet.
“I think it’s too soon,” said Lorena Willis. “When you think of other countries, they’re still in lockdown and I think that the reason we have so many cases is because we are too relaxed.”