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San Diego restaurants ready to reopen for indoor and outdoor dining after judge's ruling

STP Bar N Grill
Posted at 11:46 AM, Dec 17, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Many restaurants around San Diego are making preparations to reopen Thursday nearly 24 hours after a judge ruled the state of California, and San Diego County, can’t enforce a stay-at-home order regarding restaurants and strip clubs.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil on Wednesday ruled strip clubs and "San Diego County businesses with restaurant service” cannot get a cease-and-desist order. At a Thursday hearing, the judge reinforced that his ruling encompasses all restaurants, not just strip clubs.

The ruling had local restaurant owners such as Rudford’s owner Jeff Kasha clamoring to open their doors again.

"As soon as we’re asked to close in five minutes, we’ll open in five minutes,” Kasha told ABC 10News.

Kasha said his eatery on El Cajon Boulevard in North Park went from 45 to 17 employees due to the constantly changing rules. He said that means families are having trouble making rent and feeding their kids.

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While he's cautiously optimistic about the future, Kasha said, "We're hoping we can continue like we were before ... I'm sure this is not going to go, you know, I'm sure something else is going to happen."

Meantime, Kasha is happy to be open for indoor and outdoor dining to make a profit.

The same hope is shared across town in Clairemont, at Shannon and Tina's Place Bar N Grill, also known as STP Bar-N-Grill.

"We'd be very, very, very happy to break even after all this," co-owner Tina Romano said.

Romano said they haven't let any of their 11 employees go, saying they're family. Unfortunately, that means she and co-owner/chef Shannon Beckwith haven't been paid since March.

Thursday could mean they make a small profit for once, with Romano adding, "You know, it's exciting and frustrating at the same time."

The frustration due to the thousands of dollars spent each time they comply with new regulations, funding an outdoor dining space and cleaning supplies.

Everyone is waiting to see what the county says in response.

Coronavirus cases are sky high and hospitalizations are breaking records, bringing capacity down to 0.5% in Southern California.

County officials said they're worried reopening right now will undermine the efforts of the state to bend the curve until this point.

"It's scary, but if you are vulnerable, stay home. If you are at risk, stay home. If you feel comfortable dining in a restaurant, by all means dine in a restaurant and understand that we are being safe," Romano said.