Americans in states that have imposed some of the most protracted and severe pandemic lockdowns are finally enjoying some level of normalcy. While the lifting of restrictions has brought a growing sense of relief, it’s clear the lockdowns have left a deep scar.
Virtually all states imposed restrictions on businesses in response to the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus last year. While it remains difficult to discern how much the lockdowns have mitigated the spread of the disease, some states have relaxed and removed their restrictions much slower than others.
California was among the first states to close and is among the last to relax restrictions, many of which are still in place.
Johnny McGrew, co-owner at Mio Vicino restaurant in Santa Clara, said the business reopened in June 2020 for outdoor dining. A month later, the state declared outdoor dining in the county in breach of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order. Armed agents with the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control were dispatched to some local restaurants to tell them to return to take-out only, much to the exasperation of businesses and county officials.
Even now, McGrew is only allowed to fill half of his indoor seats.
“Some customers … they’re tired of the restrictions, they’re tired of wearing masks, but most people understand that we have to keep safe,” he said, noting that people are eager to return to some form of normal life.
Newsom said he may remove the state mask mandate on June 15. McGrew said he won’t require customers to wear face coverings if they’re not mandated. But to accommodate people that are now uncomfortable without masks, he said the cooks and servers will keep them on.
Most of his customers, he said, “have been very supportive.”
The Italian restaurant has been around for almost 30 years, but its sales dropped by roughly 75 percent when relying on take-out sales.
BY PETR SVAB