TARZANA (CBSLA) – With several counties still not allowed to have indoor dining, many restaurants across Southern California and the state are not expected to survive the coronavirus shutdown.
Antonis Konnaris opened the doors of his Greek restaurant in 1995. Since March, his business has dropped by as much as 70 percent.
“It’s sad,” Konnaris said, weeping. “I have a family. I don’t know what else to do. Just cooking.
“If I lose this, I lose my family.”
With only a few parking spaces and room for just two picnic tables, Firehouse Taverna is existing on takeout only, but Konnaris says he can’t do business this way for much longer.
“I just started using my money from the [Small Business Administration] loan, and that money will not last until the end of the year,” he said.
According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly 1 in 6 restaurants is closed either long-term or permanently due to the pandemic. That figure represents about 100,000 restaurants.
The food service industry lost $165 billion in revenue from March to July.
California restaurants appear to be faring even worse, with 1 in 3 restaurants telling the California Restaurant Association they will either close permanently or downsize by closing some locations.
Even when Los Angeles County allows for indoor dining, the owner does not think it will be enough to save his restaurant. If he has to operate at a 25% capacity, he says it will cost him more to stay open than to close his doors.
Konnaris hopes to hold on, but he worries his regulars won’t come back even after we open back up.
“People are just not comfortable and I cannot blame them,” he said.
If he closes, Konnaris says he will be forced to move back to Greece.
“This is not what I want to do. This country is my home. This country is my home,” he said.”