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Heat Wave Melts Away Business at Outdoor Restaurants in East Bay

PLEASANTON (KPIX) -- It's the first weeklong heat wave to hit the Bay Area since the pandemic forced restaurants to start outdoor dining. The hot weather wasn't all bad for businesses. It helped cities near the ocean like San Francisco which had comfortably warm weather but the heat really hurt restaurants in places like the Tri-Valley.

"We have a lot of cancellations," said Esteban Blancas at Nonni's Bistro in downtown Pleasanton. Blancas said they are seeing a 50 percent dip in business compared to last weekend.

"Last night, we had two tables at 6 o'clock," Blancas said.

The triple-digit heat kept a lot of people home. Lima restaurant in Concord, among others, saw a similar drop in business.

"This weekend is maybe down 35-ish percent, 40 percent, around there," said John Marquez, chef and owner of Lima.

A lot of people decided to take their food to-go.

"About 25 percent of the cancellations turned into to-go orders. That was good," Blancas said.

"Sitting outside isn't as comfortable as it normally is but, then, the second part is just trying to do my part, trying to maintain distancing," said Concord resident J.D. Doelitzsch.

In downtown Pleasanton, Main Street was closed to cars during the pandemic to promote outdoor dining and help businesses survive but business owners said they keep having to jump through hurdles in these already-challenging times. The heat wave is the latest test.

"We're doing OK, we'll survive," Blancas said.

Connie and her sister Martha (who declined to provide their last names) braved the heat to dine out in Pleasanton.

"I can't wait to get back in to air conditioning," Martha said.

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