Exactly one year after restaurants, bars, and gyms were ordered to shut down completely, San Diego County went back into the less restrictive red tier on Wednesday, allowing for indoor operations to resume at those establishments.
And, what a difference a year makes.
Ryan Glenn who owns The High Dive in Bay Park remembers the closure order coming on one of the biggest business days of the year, St. Patrick’s Day.
He ended up giving away 50 pounds of corned beef last year. This year, it’s back on the menu as customers were back indoors.
“I will say it’s a sense of relief in that it signals to me that maybe we are through the worst of it,” said Glenn.
Moving back into the red tier still has restrictions. Restaurants, bars that serve food, and gyms can still only operate at limited capacity.
For Glenn, that means only 25 people can be allowed indoors at his bar. He’s removed tables and the ones that remain are spaced to account for distancing.
But it all represents a sense of optimism and hope for Glenn and his customers.
“I feel like now, more people are willing to come out, more people want to come out. There’s vaccinations around, which is fortunate for us all, and so it’s relief,” said Glenn.
“It is a different atmosphere, a different feeling being inside. So it is a great feeling to know you can have, again, that personal interaction with the bartender,” said customer Diane Brown.
“It’s kind of relaxing, and we’re getting there, people are getting the vaccines, I should be getting mine soon, so I think we’re going to get back to normal sooner rather than later,” said customer Brian Kay.
Glen says he’s lost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past year.
He’s also spent thousands of dollars converting a parking lot into an outdoor patio area. It’s become part of his business model.
The patio is currently being used based on a temporary permit issued by the state and county. Glenn is hopeful the permits will become permanent.
“There never was a good sense of optimism until the last couple of weeks, said Glenn.