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Paso Robles business owner shares difficulties of keeping restaurant afloat amid multiple closures

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-13 00:54:27-04

Many businesses in downtown Paso Robles have been hit with the closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this week many had to close their doors once again with the shelter-in-place mandates during the active shooter investigation of Mason Lira, who was killed Thursday evening.

La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant co-owner Carole MacDonal said she still is unsure of what the future will hold.

“The past two days have been absolutely crazy. It’s just a little bit more of an extension of the past three and a half months," MacDonal said. "It’s been stressful, extremely stressful, and kind of scary at times and just the uncertainty of everything that’s going on is really just kind of weighing on all of us.”

Carole and her husband own both La Cosecha and Il Cortile Risoante in Paso Robles. They say La Cosecha is at 40% capacity and Il Cortile Ristorante is at 45%.

“Even if we have fabulous days from now and until the time that they let us increase our seating to where it was, 40% is still 40%. I don’t know how were going to make up for three months of no income or very little income and still keep our heads above water," MacDonal said.

While California is entering phase three of reopening, with bars scheduled to let guests in tonight, speculation a second wave of the virus is a concern for many businesses affected by these restrictions.

“Restaurant workers are 11 million people nationwide," she said. "They’ve got to get the restaurants going again because they’re just as responsible for tourism and like farmers and all of our suppliers, wineries, hotels, we’re a big drive for that so they have to really save the restaurants and save all the businesses downtown.”

The city of Paso Robles is now looking for alternate ways to keep their businesses afloat.

Some options include the Enhanced Dining Experience for takeout orders in the downtown park or Parklets for seating in front of restaurants.

Some owners say they even hope the city will open the streets up, which has been done in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Carmel, to provide additional seating to customers.

“I’m just hoping people start to feel comfortable coming downtown again because I don’t know if they are," MacDonal said.

The MacDonals have owned La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant for seven years and Il Cortile Ristorante for more than ten years.

They say their capacity cap is based on their adherence to the social distancing guidelines from the County Public Health, but welcome any additional seating they can get as the state's phased reopening continues.