outdoor dining

Pacifica Small Business Owners Protest State Order Banning Outdoor Dining

Bar and restaurant owners and the people that support them are frustrated that indoor malls are allowed to stay open while they’re banned from serving customers outdoors

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In Pacifica, small business owners struggling to survive the latest health orders said they’ve had enough, and on Wednesday held a protest demanding that the state let them reopen immediately.

“What do we want? To reopen! When do we want it? Now!” chanted the protesters. About 75 people were there with a clear message for Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Bar and restaurant owners and the people that support them are frustrated that indoor malls are allowed to stay open while they’re banned from serving customers outdoors.

Helen Nasser-Elddin, the owner of Pacifica Brewery, said she organized the protest out of frustration.

“The small businesses, the hair salons and gyms, the breweries and restaurants, we’re all being snuffed out and nobody’s hearing our pleas,” said Nasser-Elddin. “I reached out to Congress, the county, the health department.”

She specifically questioned the science behind the state’s decision to ban outdoor dining.

“We’ve asked the city, the county, the state to show us the data that indicates outdoor dining is connected to transmission, and we’ve received zero data,” she said.

In Los Angeles County, a superior court judge ruling would’ve required health officials to conduct a risk-benefit analysis to keep the outdoor dining ban in effect, but an appeals court allowed the ban to remain in place until at least February.

The small business owners who protested in Pacifica say they don’t have the resources to take their fight to court there.

“The restaurants are only asking for our fair chance at survival,” said Kimberly Lerohl, owner of Longboard Margarita Bar. “We are not choosing livelihood over lives, we just want to resume outdoor dining, just like the big box stores are allowed to continue doing business.”

San Mateo County said it is following state orders and has a compliance team making sure restaurants don’t serve people outdoors. Nasser Elddin said Pacifica Brewery is following the health orders, but if they’re forced to offer only takeout for much longer they won’t survive.  

Back in May, the Pacifica Brewery, which had first opened for business the previous November, violated health orders and opened its patio for outdoor dining. At the time, the owners said they couldn't afford to be closed any longer.

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