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Downtown SLO restaurant owners react to countywide alcohol restriction

Posted at 10:11 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 01:11:56-04

Starting Monday, all restaurants and bars in San Luis Obispo County are not allowed to sell alcohol for the next 48 hours.

It's a new restriction set by local health officials after announcing a third person has tested positive for coronavirus in San Luis Obispo County.

Bars and restaurants have posted signs on their doors telling customers about the no alcohol rule.

The restriction went into effect at 5 p.m. Monday and lasts until this Wednesday at 12:01 p.m.

San Luis Obispo County Emergency and health officials say this restriction is key in limiting large gatherings for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday and limiting the spread of coronavirus.

Two friends grabbed beers at Frog and Peach before the new alcohol restriction started. "We heard it was closing at 5 so we wanted to go at 3:30, we came a little later but we made it just in time," says Cuesta College Sophomore Yohann Pomsaty.

County health officials say these restrictions are to limit gatherings for the Irish holiday, and limit the spread of COVID-19.

"We recognize the economic impact that this will have, but our goal is to take common-sense measures," says County Administrative Officer and Emergency Services Director, Wade Horton.

Some downtown restaurant owners are encouraging people to dine in and take out.

"We are going to stay open and serve food, but we are going to limit our hours and still be a place for the community to call their home away from home," says Carissa co-owner, Cody Conti.

Conti continues, "We've had to call off shifts, and we're trying to support and be there as much as we can for our team, because they have families and that is a concern of ours to make sure their families are getting taken care of."

Other restaurants and bars like Luna Red and Frog and Peach are having to close their doors completely.

This comes after Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Sunday the closure of all bars, wineries, nightclubs and breweries, saying they are "non-essential".

He also asked restaurants to cut their occupancy in half and increase distance of tables and chairs inside.

It is unclear at this time how long these procedures will be in place.