'I am emotionally drained.' Some SoCal restaurants apprehensive about reopening following rescinded stay-at-home order

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Some restaurants apprehensive over rescinded stay-at-home order
"I am spent. I am emotionally drained." The lifting of the statewide stay-at-home order may be cause for celebration for many, but some local restaurants are nervous to move forward after all they've been through.

STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With the state stay-at-home order lifted, Los Angeles County restaurants are getting ready to put employees back to work. But some are apprehensive, saying they fear things can change again.

The lifted order should be cause for celebration, but at Vitello's Restaurant in Studio City, workers are nervous to move forward after all they've been through.

"I am spent. I am emotionally drained," said Brad Roen, a managing partner with Vitello's Restaurant.

MORE: CA lifts regional stay-at-home order. Here's what that means for SoCal

After Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted the state stay-at-home orders, Los Angeles County says outdoor dining at restaurants can resume starting Friday.

Restaurants can open outdoor service starting this Friday. L.A. County health leaders announced that the region will align with the state's decision to relax restrictions. But not everyone is ready to get back to work after eight weeks of being shut down.

"Some are feeling a little leery about getting out in the public. They've been isolated for so long. Some are ready to go as soon as we can let them know, they'll be here that next morning, they're very excited. And then a few will not be coming back. That's their words to me. 'I'm just not going to do it.' It's been too hard on them, and too hard on everybody for too long," Roen said.

So why was the order lifted now? Gov. Gavin Newsom said four-week projections by the state show a significant rise in ICU capacity. In one month, Southern California is projected to have 33.3% capacity.

See the map below to find out where your county stands and keep reading to learn what can and can't open in each color-coded category.

App users: For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window

While deaths, hospitalizations and case numbers are trending downward in L.A. County, the health care system is still strained.

"I think we can go ahead with this if we're all doing it together and if we're all playing by the rules," said L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer. "I think it's really hard if people don't help and if people don't take some responsibility, and if businesses don't make sure they're protecting their workers."

Now that L.A. County is back in the purple tier, theaters, gyms, restaurants and wineries can operate outdoors. Retail stores, malls, nail salons and hair salons can open indoors with modifications.

Local leaders caution that a rise in cases is possible again if people don't follow the rules.

"As cautious as we're going to be, as excited as we are, we'll tip-toe into this weekend and hopefully the sun will shine, we can open something up -- whatever that is," Roen said.

In Pasadena, which operates its own health department independent of the county agency, restaurants are being allowed to reopen with restrictions immediately, city officials said.

WATCH | Here's a breakdown of each tier in Newsom's reopening framework

Does the new color coded, 4-tier system for monitoring COVID-19 in California leave you scratching your head? ABC7 breaks down what each tier means.