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Central and South Coast Restaurants Shut Down In-Person Dining For Three Weeks As Lockdown Begins

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KCLU News
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Businesses on the Central and South Coast are gearing up for the impact of a three-week lockdown, which started at midnight Sunday.

Restaurants are just one of the many who are affected by the latest coronavirus restrictions, which limit them to take-out and delivery only.

Angie Donkin has been playing music at The Old Place - a 50-year-old restaurant in Agoura Hills - for the last 3 years.

It’s part of the magic that brings customers from miles around to this unassuming eaterie, nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains – which has been here for 50 years.

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Angie Donkin of Angel Black-Orchid at The Old Place

The owner, Morgan Runyon, says the closure of restaurants is the biggest challenge they’ve faced in half a century.

"COVID is definitely a huge challenge. Everything hinges on this, whether we make it through or not."

Just two years ago, Runyon fought another battle to save The Old Place – a 100 year old wooden structure – that time from the Woolsey wild fire that swept through the area.

"The Woolsey is now my fifth fire I've fought in these mountains. It was about 7.30 when it came over the top of us, ridge to ridge and slowly came up the stream bed and across the street.  There were 50 foot flames, the brudge burned, the gas line blew in the middle of the street, blowing the cap 50 feet into the air. It was the most intense day I've ever lived."

He’s pivoted his business, from serving steaks inside a crowded wooden shack – where you’d not be surprised to find yourself seated by an A-Lister – who also couldn’t get a table – to serving take out from a window.

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Food is now served from a take-out window

Eva Allan is from Santa Rosa Valley and says The Old Place is the "most charming," place, as she collects her take-out from a window. 

Ty Henry from Newbury Park proposed to his wife at The Old Place. "We feel completely safe here so we try to come, " he told KCLU. 

"Our inside was so small that we practiced what I call now 'social condensing,' says Runyon. "Then COVID came along and kicked me. "

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The owner says he didn't think the restaurant was going to make it through their 50th year anniversary. 

"Slowly you take a step forward and start to figure things out.

"We've only done take-out the whole time and we are going to continue to do take-out. It's very safe and distanced now," he says. 

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Morgan Runyon at The Old Place