VIDEO: Takeout only; restaurants face uncertainty in wake of dining restrictions

One day after calling for the closures of bars, wineries and other drinking establishments to slow the spread of coronavirus in Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday that restaurants follow suit, suspending in-person dining until further notice.

The entire foodservice industry is having to make some hard choices and drastic changes, from cutting staff hours to focusing on takeout services to keep their businesses afloat.

“All three of our salary managers, we’ve upped their hours because we can’t afford for the hourly staff,” said Jessi Smith, manager at George’s Greek Cafe’s Dowtown location. “All three of us are working 60 to 70 hours a week, six days a week, 12 to 14 hours. But any tips that we receive are being distributed to our staff. We’re doing all that we can.”

The future remains uncertain, especially for small businesses, who hope they can ride the wave until things return to some approximation of normal. Meanwhile, many restaurants are offering discounts, free delivery or special deals to attract business.

“I think now it’s more important than ever for people, as much as they can, to support local businesses,” Beachwood Brewery owner Julian Sharago, said. “This is the heart of America.”

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and videographer who covers art and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post.