Business owners frustrated over changing COVID-19 health orders

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) -Just a day after Governor Gavin Newsom lifts the stay-at-home order statewide, businesses scramble to adjust to yet another change in the rules. Many are responding with frustration over the timing, and say while they’re happy to be able to resume outdoor dining they feel it could have been done much sooner.

“It’s about time. That was my initial reaction,” says Ken Irvine, owner of Bleu Bohème. “There’s a lot of politics and things involved with this as well, we just want to deal with the facts, we just want to protect our families and protect our brand.”

Bleu Bohème is nestled in the heart of Kensington where they have been limited to takeout and delivery orders since December 6, 2020, like every restaurant in the county. It only took 24 hours to equip their patio with additional seating and heaters. Irvin says he’s aware not all businesses have the luxury of this kind of flexibility.

“Most of our conversations are about how to stop the bleeding or curtail it a little bit but there’s no way for many of us to make any money,” Irvine said. “So many in our industry, particularly in San Diego haven’t been able to do that for some time now and unfortunately they won’t be coming back, which is really sad for their restaurant families and employees.”

The state’s top doctor explaining Tuesday that all counties will return to the color-coded tiered system thrown out by the stay-at-home orders imposed in December.

Facing the real possibility of closure is Ike Gazaryan who owns restaurants and an event venue in City Heights. He transformed the parking lot of his event warehouse, that hasn’t hosted a party or wedding in nearly a year, into an outdoor patio for dining.

“We were really excited about it, we were ready to open up but the winds picked up and I’ve never seen anything like it in San Diego,” Gazaryan. “So this whole thing, the entire structure flew over, ripped off and was totally ruined.”

Mangled metal and scraps of fabric and pillows is all that’s left of what would have been the possibility of making ends meet by trying a new business venture.

“You build all these outside patios, jump through all these hoops, open up a food delivery business instead of running a restaurant,” Gazaryan said. “Then I build this patio and now it’s gone again I’m just lost for words.”

Gazaryan has started a GoFundMe to try and help in the rebuilding process.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local San Diego News