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Many Bakersfield bars remain open despite governor's 'directive guidance' to shut down

Posted at 7:56 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 22:56:47-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Some local Kern County businesses are making changes in light of Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement to shut down and practice social distancing in bars, nightclubs, wineries and restaurants while others are not.

“And as a consequence we are directing that we reduce the current occupancy within these establishments,” Gov. Newsom said Sunday.

Many of the downtown restaurant businesses in Bakersfield told 23ABC they are remaining open and starting to make other serious changes, but many local bars are not following the recommendations from the governor to shut down all together.

“We are directing that all bars, night clubs, wineries, brew pubs and the like be closed in the state of California," Gov. Newsom said Sunday.

On Monday, President Donald Trump also tightened up on those guidelines previously spelled out for these businesses, by telling Americans to, “avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people.”

Toss It salad company business owner, Gabby Gonzalez, said in light of the coronavirus, she is now making some changes to her Downtown Bakersfield restaurant, following the recommendations from Gov. Newsom and the President Trump.

“Well, we're remaining open, we did shorten our hours we open at 10 a.m., and close at 2 p.m.,” Gonzalez said.

Other places like the Alley Cat Bar, Jin Sushi and The Padre Hotel restaurant bar and grill would not give statements to 23ABC News about their changes in hours, capacity and social distancing practices. However, all three establishments were visibly open to their daily restaurant and bar customers.

Gov. Newsom said even though he has the power to enforce bars and restaurants to close he is not going to do that as of now.

"A framework of martial law, which is ultimate authority and enforcement we have the capacity to do that but we are not at this moment feeling that is a necessity, and to the extent that people do not socialize and support this very directive guidance I would be surprised and we have all the confidence it will be,” he said.

The Silver Fox Bar in Downtown Bakersfield is also still open as of now.

However, Gonzalez is focusing on making it easier and safer on her customers to still get the nutritious food options.

“We're able to deliver local, maybe a mile radius,” Gonzalez said.

She added no one is allowed to eat at her salad restaurant as of now, but Grubhub and Ubereats are still delivering her salads fresh to customers who are further away and can’t pick up food from in store.

Dagny’s Coffee Company is also staying open as of now, but making some changes to the morning routine, according to the manager Kelsey Still.

“We also are sanitizing everything multiple times hourly, and we are down to single use components unless someone asks us specifically for a mug.”

Still said that prior to the new restaurant guidelines from the government, sales were already down since the coronavirus outbreak.

“We're really trying to convey to everybody that supporting the local guys right now is really important,” Still said.

Many business owners told 23ABC News that all they can do now is stay positive while still supporting their customers every day needs.

Other restaurants like Locale Farm to Table on 18th Street in Central Bakersfield are also now offering delivery service to customers in light of the virus outbreak.