BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — After it was announced that Kern County would be moving back into the purple tier, one local business announced on social media they would keep indoor dining open despite the requirement to stop indoor operations. 23ABC's Bayan Wang spoke to the owner of Maggie's Sunrise Cafe about why she's choosing to stay open.
Maggie Navarro-Gomez, the owner of Maggie's Sunrise Cafe, had no other choice. It's a matter of survival for her business.
Navarro-Gomez said her business has been compliant throughout all the restrictions imposed since the pandemic began but this time she said the struggle is far beyond what it was and that they need to stay open in order to survive.
"We've been compliant. I've been compliant up to today," she said. "We shut down when we needed to shut down. We did to-go's when we needed to do to-go's. We did outdoor seating when we needed to. Like I've complied over and over again."
This time Navarro-Gomez said halting indoor services as required by the state's most restrictive purple tier would possibly put her and others out of business.
"I don't think any of us could survive. I mean we could push on, but the debts are going to get bigger and bigger and there is going to be a point where the collectors come and say 'hey we need our money too.'"
But it's not just about her. Navarro-Gomez said a whole workforce is counting on her as well.
"You have to sometimes cut hours or let people go, and that's why this time you know, I'm done with it. We have to take care of our employees. They want to work. They have to work."
Similar frustrations can be felt from restaurants in several counties, many filing claims against the state seeking refunds for accrued local and state fees they've paid while restrictions have forced them to stop business or operate at limited capacities.
It's a scenario that may also pan out in Kern County according to District 3 Supervisor Mike Maggard.
"There is a discussion in our community as we speak of a number of restaurants coming together and filing a suit about these matters," said Maggard.
In the meantime, for Navarro-Gomez, it's business as usual.
"We need to do what we got to do. So I need to stay open."
23ABC reached out to county officials to learn exactly how many restaurants are considering filing a lawsuit against the governor but they have not responded.