San Diego restaurant owner reacts to more possible restrictions

LEMON GROVE (KUSI) – For one restaurant in Lemon Grove, what the state decides Tuesday about moving San Diego into the most restrictive tier will determine their next steps. They have been adapting to the COVID-19 restrictions since the pandemic began.

“We just went with it, we never shut down for a day,” said the owner of Giardino, Karina Kravalis. “We just keep working and keep pushing, we’re not giving up.”

The restaurant is fairly new and will celebrate their three-year anniversary this November. While they try and adapt to the changing health orders, they are relying on the loyal local customers to keep them going.

“We’re not really in the tourist part of town so we depend on our customers who have been there since day one,” Kravalis said. “I think restaurants are doing an amazing job, so the fact that they might have to shut down indoor dining again, isn’t backed up by something that makes a lot of sense to me.”

Fear looms over the possibility of future rollbacks in reopening plans, and Kravalis says some who close this time will never reopen.

“I just don’t think all restaurants are going to survive because if you are not generating revenue and you work this hard, I think a lot will give up and eventually close,” Kravalis said.

For so many, the pandemic has put their professional hopes and dreams in jeopardy as they scramble to do whatever it takes to survive.

“I just knew I was going to do everything I can to save it because this is all I have,” Kravalis said. “I have invested everything I have to open this restaurant and make it successful.”

With the purple tier requiring all indoor dining to be moved outside, this would cut half of the restaurants capacity which will determine how many employees she has on staff. The owner says she has many other people to worry about besides herself.

“What this flip flopping, shutting down and reopening does, it affects our bills,” said Giardino server Shannon Able. “It affects our money, we don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.”

The strain on servers has them constantly hanging in limbo waiting for the state to decide their next move. Able has this advice for people deciding whether it’s safe for them to go out.

“For restaurants especially, if you’re not comfortable going out to eat and putting yourself in danger then order takeout and take it home and if you’re comfortable coming in, please by all means come in,” Able said.

For loyal customers who have been with Giardino from day one, they know how hard they are working to keep customers safe.

“They need to let them open and if people are scared they can stay home, but I mean they are doing everything they need to do,” said Constance Johnson. “From cleaning, to masks, to making their menu’s all virtual. They are keeping people safe.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Local San Diego News