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Some restaurants across San Diego County reopen after judge's ruling

Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 20:44:56-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Excitement and confusion. That’s what many San Diego County restaurant owners felt after hearing the county has suspended enforcement activities on restaurants, for now.

A judge’s ruling Wednesday allowed two strip clubs to stay open, and in a surprising twist, extended to the restaurant industry, allowing for in-person dining.

While the county sorts out what it will do next, some restaurants are taking the opportunity to reopen for in-person dining, even if it’s short-lived.

“I was thrilled to hear the judge’s ruling,” said Julian Hakim, co-owner of The Taco Stand. “I wish there was, even now, a little more clarity. We know the county is not going to enforce, but we’re not sure if ABC who holds our alcohol licenses or others choose to keep enforcing.”

Hakim is cautiously optimistic and will now offer minimal outdoor dining options at his locations in downtown San Diego, La Jolla, Encinitas, and North Park.

“I’m still prepared for anything,” he said. “There really isn’t any evidence that sitting outside is contributing to the COVID cases; I think there’s evidence of people being inside, so I would agree with that, and I wouldn’t open inside just yet.”

Mikko Sushi’s Escondido, Carlsbad, and Vista locations reopened for outdoor dining and indoor dining at 25% capacity Thursday.

“We decided to open with all the safety guidelines that are mandated by the county and state we will follow that,” said Mikko Sushi co-owner Mia Davis. “We debated actually, should we really open or not, but after thinking through overnight, many of our employees need jobs, this is right before Christmas, and they need to put the food on the table, they need to pay their rent.”

Davis said she had to furlough 70% of her employees after the latest restrictions on restaurants went into place, and they could only offer takeout.

Both Davis Hakim said they have many safety precautions in place, and they’re following what happens next closely.

“We take this COVID-19 seriously, and we know the cases are increasing, and we just want to follow the rules.”