The visitors from Phoenix, Arizona, didn’t realize Monday was so special.
Christina Dunn and her friends sat for a meal at a table inside Breakfast Republic, in Pacific Beach. Dunn said it was nice to be out.
“Stuck in the house. Bored in the house. Not a lot to do,” she said with a sigh.
They didn’t realize there was no indoor dining at San Diego restaurants since it was banned because of the coronavirus pandemic. Monday was the first day restaurants in San Diego County could invite customers inside to dine since the first week of July. They're now limited to a hundred people or 25% of their seating, whichever number is smaller. They also have to close by 10 p.m.
“There’s a lot of places you can eat inside in Phoenix,” Dunn said while laughing about the triple-digit heat in Arizona. “Sorry, San Diego. I don’t feel bad.”
Garcia is the chief operating officer for Rise & Shine Hospitality Group which owns 18 restaurants, including the Breakfast Republic in PB. He said they’ve adjusted during the coronavirus rollercoaster, which shut them down and let them reopen, only to shut them down again, then reopen again with outdoor dining.
“It feels great," said a smiling Cesar Garcia, who wasn’t used to seeing people eat inside. “It feels really different. We’re not complaining. We’re not crying. We’re just trying to make things work and survive like everybody else in the industry.”
“We’re just trying to make it work, and we’re going to survive, and we’re going to be a better company after COVID,” said Garcia. “We’re adapting to everything and making things work.”
That worked for Dunn, who understood the difficulties restaurants have faced.
“The last five months have been challenging,” Dunn said.
If San Diego's pandemic metrics continue to fall and stay that way, the county could be promoted to the Orange Tier by the state, which would allow restaurants to operate at 50 percent of capacity or with 200 guests, whichever amount is smaller.