San Diego County ordered a return to stricter COVID-19 restrictions on Monday that affected many public indoor activities.
The moves came in the wake of the county being placed on California's monitoring list for a third consecutive day due to increasing COVID-19 cases.
At midnight on Monday, the county's public health order will be updated, effectively shutting down all indoor activity at restaurants, bars, card rooms, wineries, tasting rooms, theaters, zoos, museums and family entertainment centers, including bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades. The closure will last at least three weeks, said San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox.
As was the case since last week, all restaurants are being instructed to cease food consumption by 10 p.m., with all customers out by 11 p.m.
“Bars, breweries and brewpubs that do not serve food must close all operations – even if those operations are outdoors," Fletcher said. "If you are a brewery/brewpub that does not serve food, you are still allowed to do curbside pickup of your products.”
Wineries with outdoor areas, however, are still permitted to serve their customers outside.
Counties that have remained on that list for three days in a row are required to shut down some businesses unless they can be modified to operate outside or for pick-up only, according to state guidelines.
“We can’t simply hope for the best," said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. "We have to put in place a series of measures that allow us to guide our way through and slow the spread in a responsible way,” later adding, "if you wait until your hospitals are overwhelmed, it’s too late.”
Nearly two dozen counties in California have been required to take action to slow the spread of the disease, Fletcher said. Specifically addressing zoo operations, Fletcher said he spoke with San Diego Zoo officials and did not think the new health order would have much effect on zoo operations.
BBQ House Bar and Grill has been operating in Ocean Beach for 30 years. One of the owners, Melvin Atallah, said the past few months have been frustrating, as he tries to keep up with ever-changing public health orders.
Now, he’s preparing for another round of modifications.
“It’s been a struggle going through it all,” said Atallah. “Making sure everyone’s social distancing, wearing masks.”
Atallah said his business suffered the most when beaches were closed, and restaurants were only required to offer take-out.
“Business had dropped 60 to 80% on some days,” Atallah recalled.
Now, he’s faced with another setback but is brainstorming ways to serve more guests, safely.
“We’re talking about shutting down half of our parking lot out back, putting some more tables and chairs out there so we can still allow people to dine-in,” Atallah said.
His long-time customers, like Danielle Erwin, originally from Ocean Beach, said they’re doing their part to support small businesses during this challenging time.
“Heartbreaking. It’s so sad. If it doesn’t affect you, you don’t really think about it. But some of my favorite places I still try and go to, to make sure they don’t close down,” Erwin said.