Citing economic strife, 2 OC restaurants are reopening despite statewide COVID-19 restrictions

Nomads Canteen in San Clemente and Citrus City Grille in Orange say they can no longer take the economic hit brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Two restaurants in Orange County are reopening, despite statewide orders, noting that the establishments can no longer take the economic hit.

Over the weekend, Nomads Canteen in San Clemente said it would reopen its doors. Supervisors Michelle Steel and Don Wagner have come out in support of the business.

In a statement, the supervisors said that the Orange County Health Care Agency threatened to suspend the owner's permit, but later agreed to rescind "all threats" as long as the business continues to comply with the county's guidelines for businesses.

"Further enforcement action pursuant to state or local orders will be up to the appropriate state or local law enforcement officials," the statement read.

Last week, the Board of Supervisors approved a set of six guidelines for best practices that businesses and people in general should use when the county reopens.

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Looking ahead to when more businesses might be allowed to reopen, Orange County has approved a set of guidelines setting out requirements for physical distancing and cleaning to help protect employees and customers.

On Tuesday, Citrus City Grille announced that it would follow the cantina's steps and reopen for dine-in services beginning on Friday. A statement on the restaurant's website says employees will be wearing masks.

It's unclear if the corresponding authorities plan to take any action.

Steve Tsirtsis, the establishment's owner, told Eyewitness News opening before California gives the green light is a necessary risk to not lose what he has worked for over the past 25 years.

"I'm 65 years old and this thing is taking me apart," he said.

On Friday, some businesses across California will reopen for curbside pick-up. That includes businesses such as book stores, clothing stores, sporting goods, toy stores and florists, given they follow additional safety protocols that will be released Thursday, Newsom said.

The state is also working to create guidelines that will allow restaurants and other hospitality businesses to open their doors again. It's unclear when seating dining in restaurants will be allowed to resume in California.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the next stage of reopening California's economy is expected to begin as early as Friday.

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