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Central, South Coast Restaurants Struggling With Loss Of Indoor Service Due To New COVID-19 Rules

Restaurants on the Central and South Coasts are trying to figure out how they will be impacted by new COVID-19 related health orders restricting indoor service

Tuesday was a bittersweet day for a restaurant and pub which is a downtown Ventura hot spot.  Business has been good, but the COVID-19 surge means that as of Wednesday, Dargan’s, like restaurants in 41 other California counties will lose their ability to offer indoor dining.

Lindsey Ryan is General Manager of the family owned restaurant.  She says the timing couldn't be worse.  During the summer, business boomed with Dargan’s expanded outdoor dining.  But, chilly days and night mean many people want to eat indoors.

Ryan says the situation puts the restaurant on wobbly ground.  They think they could lose 50% of their business.

Reaction from people out for lunch in Downtown Ventura ranges from acceptance to anger.

Shaun McCabe of Oxnard is having lunch with a friend.  He likes the outdoor dining, but is skeptical about how it will fare during the fall and winter months.  He says he’s worried that it may force some restaurants to close.

Back at Dargan’s, server Maddie Lewis admits it’s hard to not know what will happen with the restaurant.  She says she knows she can’t do anything about it, but is hoping for the best.

Ryan says they don’t think indoor dining will resume before the end of the year.  She says they’ll do what they can to keep the doors open, including ramping up takeout service.  They want to keep their 40 employees working.  But, she knows many of their customers come for the atmosphere of the restaurant and pub, something you can’t get in a takeout bag.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.