PLAYA DEL REY, Calif. — Mo Krant owns the kind of place Playa Del Rey community members have been coming to for years — 26 to be exact.
Like other restaurants across Southern California, he's been limited to take-out and delivery, and the state’s latest regional stay-at-home order has left L.A. restaurant owners like Mo wondering what more they can do to stay open.
“This is about as crazy as it gets. Every single time they throw us for another loophole and another hurdle we have to jump over. And it’s no fun,” Krant said.
The latest order handed down by Gov. Gavin Newsom bans outdoor dining.
Krant and his co-owner Alberto Parada have spent about 20 thousand dollars outfitting their restaurant inside and out.
“We spend a lot of money, and now we’re just looking at our money being dead here,” Krant said.
But on Tuesday L.A. County restaurants received some support, a judge issuing an injunction to overturn the county’s indefinite ban on outdoor dining.
The state’s three-week order overrides the county’s overturned ban, but when asked about the safety of eating outdoors, attorney Dennis S. Ellis of the California Restaurant Association – which filed the suit against the county – said eating outdoors is a safer activity.
“The evidence strongly suggests that you can have a mask on indoors and be much greater at risk than you are outdoors without a mask,” Ellis said.
With ICU capacity limited, the state is saying that limiting exposure of any kind will help prevent the spread of COVID.
But owners like Mo and Alberto, who said they’ve lost some 50 - 70% of their business, are frustrated by the way decisions are handed down, which they said is without warning.
“They don’t tell us ahead of time what they’re going to be doing or how we can better ourselves before we do something. It’s like they do, then afterwards they think about it,” Krant said.
And as he looks forward – and back – at the business he’s built and the employees he’s trying to pay, Krant is hoping that his restaurant can be back open for more than just take-out and delivery sooner rather than later.
“You can only hang on so much," said Krant. "I mean, I’ve been here for 26 years. It’s like 26 years going down the drain. And all of the sudden you’re fighting just to stay open."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the name of the attorney. His name is Dennis S. Ellis. This error has been corrected. (December 11, 2020)