LA County restaurants relying on customer support amid upcoming halt to outdoor dining

LA County restaurants will be relying on customer support as they face another round of restrictions from the LA County Department of Public Health on Wednesday.

"About 80 to 85 percent [of our money comes from outdoor dining] so it's going to be devastating. Luckily the last time around, our community supported us so we had a good amount of takeout, but with the fees at places like Grub Hub and Uber Eats, it becomes very difficult," said Art Habibi, the owner of Dojo Sushi on Ventura in Sherman Oaks.

The restaurant, specializing in high-quality sushi, has been around for six years. Art Habibi is concerned about the upcoming closure of outdoor dining, but also acknowledges the surge in cases.


"I think our city officials are in a very tough position. On one end, it's going to be devastating to a lot of businesses such as myself, but on the other end, I know there's need to act. Do I think that there were better options, absolutely but I understand there needs to be something, the numbers are skyrocketing," said Habibi.

Habibi spent a lot of time and money revamping his outdoor dining experience to make it comfortable for customers.

"We had to get a lot of materials set up like misters for the summer, the heaters for the winter, a sound stereo system. It's unfortunate we're not able to use it for the winter because we don't know if it's [the restrictions] only going to be three weeks," said Habibi.

The next few weeks were important for business according to Habibi.

"We're definitely going to have cut staff. I would say I'm hoping to maintain about half of my staff. It's a tough call because they're all my family and who do you choose to keep? It puts us in a very difficult position," said Habibi.

LA County Supervisor, Kathryn Barger, told FOX 11 that she does not support the new guidelines from the Department of Public Health.

"I personally feel that we are rushing into a situation and for many of these restaurants, it's going to be the final blow and they're not gonna open," she said.

Christy Vega, the owner of "Casa Vega" voiced her concerns to FOX 11 about the restrictions saying no restaurant can survive on strictly take-out orders. She also believes other things are responsible for the surge in cases.

"The spike is caused by the rallies and the protests and the people mingling inside their homes and kids having house parties. It has nothing to do with outdoor dining, and we're taking the hit," said Vega.

Restaurant owners are hoping 2021 will be a better year for them with the release of vaccines.

"We're all praying for the economy and society to get back to normal. We just gotta weather the storm for the next few months," said Habibi.

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