ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — Now that San Diego County has entered the orange tier, restaurants can allow more people to dine inside.
Restaurants can offer indoor dining at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 200 people.
In Escondido, many people took advantage of the 70-degree weather Wednesday, continuing to mostly be seated outside during the lunch rush.
At H Brothers, an Escondido restaurant owned by brothers Nick and Justin Hedayati, 50 percent capacity is the equivalent of about 25 people inside.
“We can still fit our larger groups in here, and we have our tables set up so we can move them around how we need it,” said Nick Hedayati. “People still want to eat outside because it’s so nice.”
The brothers have been following the coronavirus restrictions, although it has been difficult. They’ve made it through and now see more people dining out.
“I think people appreciate that kind of thing,” said Nick Hedayati. “It’s been good, really steady, almost back to where we were before this time. We have great customers; they really got us through this, it’s just a small locally owned business, and we’re glad to be a part of Escondido.”
For smaller restaurants, like mom-and-pop shop Sunny Side Kitchen, the capacity increase is about one extra table, but the loyal customers have also kept them busy.
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“Every month, we would worry if we’re going to make it, but every month we’d come through with the support of the community,” said Kate Carpenter, who owns the restaurants with her husband, Bob.
“It’s tough because we’re a really small restaurant. We’re hopeful that this weather stays and people just want to keep eating outside because we added so much outdoor seating.”
Carpenter said they added extra seats in the back parking lot, in addition to the three tables on the front sidewalk.
The City of Escondido has seen great success with outdoor dining during the pandemic. The city is currently reviewing options that would possibly make it easier for restaurant owners to continue providing outdoor seating.
Carpenter is thankful for the continued support and is excited to hear California is possibly on a path to fully reopening on June 15.