NewsCovering Kern County


Restaurants prepare for the most restrictive purple tier

Outdoor seating now faces challenges during winter months
Posted at 12:36 AM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 03:36:50-05

With the change in tier, comes another challenge for local restaurants that once again will have to close their indoor dining, but with colder temperatures, the price to stay in business is going up for some.

Take Wiki's off Ming and Buena Vista, they've set up tents to have outdoor seating, but the cost to keep customers warm is just another expense for restaurants during already trying times.

"I tell everybody you're in the middle of the ocean, you get dumped out there, you got to swim no matter what happens. You got to get out there and swim. That’s what were doing, were swimming to survive." Swimming is now routine for Michael Earhart Co-owner of Wiki’s Wine Dive and Grill. He says the pandemic has taken a toll on all local business owners. And now with Kern County back in the purple tier, he's preparing outdoor seating for the winter months, and it's not cheap. "Let’s say 4k dollars a month to keep open for a limited crowd that you're going to have in the restaurant."

The restaurant invested in tents to keep guests warm and dry from any potential rain, new outdoor flooring that will not radiate the cold air through the concrete, as well as plastic barriers and heaters to keep warm. Earhart says just in propane they're already spending about $600-$700 a month. He says, "We’re burning through an easy 10-15 tanks a week."

Earhart says he bought propane tanks back in September, knowing that the county would be in this situation. He also adds that propane is the new toilet paper. He says, "Go to the hardware store and try to buy a propane tank, or even more so a heater. You're not going to find one."

And over in Downtown Bakersfield, Nuestro Mexican Grill has already put in about $2k worth of preparations. "We got some heaters, some tents, and that way people get comfortable because I know its pretty cold. "

Christian Sanchez, a manager at the restaurant is adjusting to survive. "We’re going to be hurt like everyone else, but you know we have to do what we have to do." And now that the county is back in the purple tier, Sanchez says they may need to make more changes. He says, "like tomorrow probably were going to cut hours and to see how were going to manage this."

Both restaurants plan on following the governors guidelines. For more information, visit the details below.

Nuestro Mexican Grill:

Wikis Wine Dive and Grill: