BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With all the changes due to 2020, one tradition continued on Thanksgiving, many residents are found themselves celebrating Thanksgiving in new ways all while keeping some tradition going especially when it came.
While some families gathered, others met over Zoom, and while some businesses closed, others stayed open supporting customers who were wanting to keep some traditions going.
"I applaud all of the restauranteurs and the people working in the restaurants and giving people a place to go whether they are giant or small, it's the fact we all came together for the community," said Cassie Bittle, general manager of KC Steakhouse.
While Thanksgiving this year looked different for lots of families, restaurants also had to adjust, some choosing to close while others opened their doors like KC Steakhouse General Manager Cassie Bittle says they did see a 50% decrease in dine-in options due to the pandemic.
"The holidays as I would like to call it is our harvest time, it's when you bankroll and keep as much as you can during the slower months from 2019. Restaurants and that ability coming into 2020 now we are not going to have that nest egg so I am worried about where restaurants will be in the upcoming months," said Bittle.
But despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, KC Steakhouse says they decided to remain open to offer options for residents like Edgar Garcia who says coming here is an annual tradition.
"I know things are different this year but we have to keep the tradition alive, and our tradition is having dinner as a family, and every year we come here it has been great," said Garcia.
KC Steakhouse wasn’t the only restaurant offering Thanksgiving options. In Southwest Bakersfield, Blue Elephant Thai Cuisine kept their doors open for anyone looking for non-traditional Thanksgiving-style food.
"In the past, we used to close every holiday and season too, and then we soon found out that we couldn’t find anything to eat ourselves and we are seeing that with the pandemic too," said Patraphol Wisuthimarkul, an employee for Blue Elephant.
Since the pandemic, the restaurant says they have not had to close because they have been able to offer takeout and delivery and shares they have seen more new customers on thanksgiving.
"I have seen people from out of town who are passing by to another city stop by and then keep traveling. I feel like I have seen this more, especially on the holidays," said Wisuthimarkul.