SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento County restaurants are back to the bottom line — no bars and no indoor dining — as coronavirus cases surge.
A sink or swim moment has arrived for the second time. The decision to ban indoor dining comes ahead of a holiday weekend doctors said is critical. COVID-19 cases are spiking in Sacramento and ignoring social distancing could make it worse.
El Santo on K Street opened for dine-in for the first time just last week. They didn’t even have the chance to get out the gate before Wednesday’s mandate.
Manager Aydalys Ortiz says it bluntly: “We’re going broke. That’s it, we’re going broke to try and stay open.” She said thousands of dollars worth of Mexican food and Brazilian meats that were just ordered might never get sold.
“Every day we’re trying to do specials just to get the food out because last time when we closed down we had to throw everything away,” Ortiz said.
The $26,000 monthly rent check has been impossible to cover.
“We’re not getting a break here. The rent is high, they’re not waiving our rent,” Ortiz said.
El Santo was one of few places on the block even open. Many are operating under temporary hours and some restaurants appear to be not opening at all. A few miles away, the tables at Cilantros will go back to seeing no action.
“My common sense tells me that we’re going to have to find different ways to work,” said Hugo Cervantes, the owner.
For Cervantes, the slim down started weeks ago. He’s not just the owner there now. He’s the cook and the dishwasher. He relies almost entirely on family for staffing.
“I go buy my own product most of the time right now. Smaller portions so we can move everything,” Cervantes said.
But he’s running out of back up plans for the curve balls COVID-19 keeps throwing.
“Our plan B is this, us stepping in,” he said.
Will the to-go orders be enough to survive? Everyone CBS13 talked to Wednesday said they have to keep a positive attitude, for the sake of their mental health. But a nagging feeling persists.
“At what point can you just not even do it anymore? I’m not trying to think about that. Because I feel it, but I’m not trying to voice it,” Ortiz said.