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Restaurants Feeling Financial Strain From Adapting To New COVID Restrictions

SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA) - Outside dining has become the norm at Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks. Owner Christy Vega said it was either that or shut down.

"It cost $30,000 to get this outside set up going," said Vega Wednesday. "I had to get new tables and chairs and then it's about $10,000 a month to maintain the tents and keep them rented."

But starting Friday, all restaurants will have to reduce outdoor dining to 50 percent capacity in Los Angeles County, due to new restrictions as COVID-19 numbers spike.

"It's a little bit of a punch in the gut by the county to say now we have to reduce capacity by 50 percent when we've over-complied everywhere," added Vega.

Other dining establishments around L.A. feel the same from Korean BBQ to Italian restaurants.

Medical experts said while many restaurants are offering tent setups, it is important to stay safe by offering at least two openings.

"The main important thing is that there is air movement through tents, you don't want to be in an enclosed environment where there is stagnant air," said Dr. Thomas Yadegar, medical director of the ICU for Providence Cedar Sinai Medical Center. "Because at that point, we know the virus can travel even more than six feet."

Restaurants are also feeling the burden of a newly placed curfew in the county.

The news comes as a huge hit for places like Patrick Molloys in Hermosa Beach. One manager said the new restriction of closing by 10 pm will cut off their busiest time, making it hard to maintain revenues, especially during the weekends.

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