Orange County Enacts COVID-19 Restrictions on Restaurants

Caitlyn Kim, Staff Writer 

Several restaurants have closed in Irvine due to the evolving COVID-19 crisis and the restrictions placed on food service establishments.
On March 15, Governor Gavin Newsom called for the state of California to close bars and restrict restaurants to take-out or delivery only.
Following the Governor’s statement, on March 18, the Orange County Chief Health Officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, released a county-wide order on new food service guidelines in order to curb the spread of the virus.
The order stated, “All food served shall be by delivery, or through pick-up or drive-through. For purposes of food delivery and pick-up, social distancing, defined as maintaining a six-foot separation per person… shall be required.”
In response to these unprecedented restrictions, many restaurants have closed temporarily, while others continue to remain open, doing take-out and delivery.
Puesto, Omomo Tea Shoppe, Bruxie, and Taco Rosa, are just some of the places that have shut down in Irvine, and are scheduled to reopen once the situation deescalates and the restrictions are lifted.
Many fast food restaurants, such as In-N-Out and Chipotle, are maintaining their usual hours of operation –  however, others have minimized their hours. For example, Sharetea has shortened their hours from 11am to 10pm daily, to 11am to 9pm. Other locations such as Adya at University Town Center have cut their hours more drastically. Adya had previously been open from 11am to 9pm but are now operating from 11am to 7pm and are closed on Sundays.
Many restaurants, including In-N-Out, have seen decreased sales during this COVID-19 crisis.
“[Sales are] a lot less because the dine-in is closed and nobody is allowed inside,” Bryant, an In-N-Out employee, said. “Less than half, give or take, of workers are coming in.”
For the restaurants that choose to remain open during this time, new regulations are being rolled out daily from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC recommends strategies such as, “increasing physical space between employees at the worksite”, in order to protect both employees and customers.
All 36 shopping centers and the three open-air malls owned by the Irvine Company are to remain open during this time. These centers include Campus Plaza, University Center, Culver Plaza, Woodbridge Village Center, and many more.
“Merchants in community centers are providing essential goods and services: groceries, delivery and take-out food, healthcare, pharmacies, and banking services”, the Irvine Company stated on their website.
The Irvine Company has already taken measures to support impacted businesses during this time.
“Impacted retail merchants have the option to defer 3 months of rent until January 2021 – penalty and interest free – and they will have 12 months to become current,” the Irvine Company stated.
President Donald Trump has extended the coronavirus guidelines set to end on April 12, to April 30, and possibly longer, leaving uncertain times ahead for local restaurants and businesses.