Chula Vista

Not Ready to Reopen: Restaurant Chooses to Remain in Purple Tier

MJ's Yogurt Time & Deli in Chula Vista has not yet opened its dining room

NBC Universal, Inc.

The last 12 months were incredibly hard for MJ’s Yogurt Time & Deli. The Chula Vista restaurant struggled mightily under the restrictions levied by the state of California.

“When you put the numbers together, we’re down,” said MJ, the deli’s namesake. “We’re down big time. Very frustrated because it is very, very expensive to open a restaurant.”

MJ estimated the 13-year-old business is down roughly 40%-50%. He said the delivery apps and carry-out orders have kept them afloat.

San Diego County recently entered the red tier, which allowed restaurants to reopen indoors using 25% of their seating.

“Here we are in the red tier, and they said we can do it,” said MJ from behind his face mask. “We’re just sticking to staying closed. Money is very important to keep this place open and have our employees paid. Right? But the humanity and keeping people alive is more important.”

COVID-19 hit the South Bay and Chula Vista hard. MJ said they’ll wait a while longer before opening indoors.

“It was a very big concern for us just because we didn’t want to get sick,” MJ said. “A lot of our staff is still not fully vaccinated.”

MJ said they would reconsider once everyone on the deli’s staff was vaccinated and most of San Diego received their doses, too.

Some customers have complained and chosen to leave, MJ told NBC 7. He said he understood and didn’t fault their decision. He said he can’t wait to seat them inside once he felt a little safer.

“We just want to keep it safe for our employees.”

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