SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. - Christy Vega's family business is the long time institution called ''Casa Vega'' on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.
She's worried now that after more than 50 years in business, the future of the restaurant is very much in doubt due to Los Angeles County's decision to suspend all outdoor dining for at least three weeks, effective Wednesday night. The county made the decision in hopes of controlling the spread of COVID-19.
"I'm bewildered that the county would do this to restaurant workers the week of Thanksgiving. I think it's beyond awful. There's no scientific evidence to back it up... the spike is caused by rallies and protests and people mingling inside their homes," Vega said.
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Like many restaurant owners, she thinks the authorities are doing this because it's easy and shows them doing something, not because the science dictates it. What's more, so many restaurants spent tens of thousands of dollars on tents, heaters, outdoor tables, plants, carpeting and lighting to make their customers feel better about having to eat in what were once parking lots or on sidewalks, only to have all that essentially be put on hold.
Employees are another concern if the restaurants are down to take-out orders and drive-thru pickups. Those limitations would once again mean staff layoffs and furloughs, and this time, no federal PPP money to help.
County health officials call it a necessary sacrifice to save lives. Business owners question why, for example, you can go to a crowded supermarket or most other stores indoors while not being able to sit outside at socially-distanced tables to eat.
The county's shut down of the dine-in option at restaurants kicks in Wednesday, November 25 at 10 p.m.