Restaurants React to First Night of Curfew

The state-mandated curfew went into effect Saturday and for many restaurants that meant closing a little bit earlier

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Restaurants around the county are finding it harder and harder to survive the pandemic as the state imposes more restrictions. 

“We’ve had to furlough employees and then get employees to come back and then do it again,” said Allyson Nckeag, general manager at Cafe Sevilla. “It's been very difficult.”

It's the latest round of restrictions that has the restaurant industry in Downtown San Diego fearing for their livelihood. 

“We just lost an extra hour,” Nckeag said. “And it just means people are not going to be coming out as often.”

Starting Saturday, restaurants must close for dine-in starting at 10 p.m. This part of a state-wide curfew issued by the governor on counties currently in the purple tier. 

Currently, Café Sevilla in downtown San Diego only opens for dinner. 

“They’ll come out until 7 or 8 p.m. and then they have to be quick, get in and out and head home,” Nckeag said. 

The problem isn't unique to them. Restaurants in the area say most customers don't start coming in until later in the evening. 

“Generally we’re a late-night place,” said Chase Zellner, assistant manager at Henry’s pub. “People don’t really come here for the food. We have great food, but we’re not really thought of as that type of place. So for us to lose the late night, it definitely hurts.”

Restaurants are still able to do take-out past 10 p.m. but for a lively area like downtown that's not what sells.

“We’re going to go with the flow and adhere to San Diego county, but at the end of the day, I would hope that things go back to maybe a new normal,” Nckeag said.  “And hopefully it looks out for restaurants and bars in the future and making sure people are able to survive.”

Under the previous health order, restaurants could not admit new customers after 10 p.m., and diners were allowed to stay on-site until 11 p.m. to finish their meals.  Under Saturday's new limited stay at home order, diners need to clean their plates and be gone by 10 p.m.

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