BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – On Friday, 23ABC spoke to a few restaurants saying they have followed state orders and directions throughout the pandemic and are grateful to have this al fresco option again.
Joe Coughlin owns Coconut Joe’s and, like many other companies, says it has been hit hard.
“I had a concern for the employees and the safety of our customers. That’s why our employees said we don’t want to open inside or outside, so we closed everything,” said Coughlin. Coconut Joe’s is on California Ave.
The restaurant is known for its beach dishes made from salmon and shrimp salads, tri-tips and much more. For the first time in almost two months, they opened up to outdoor dining.
“That would be our driving force – ‘What do employees feel comfortable with?’ So they said they wanted to eat on the terrace, they would be comfortable with it, said Coughlin. “
The restaurant tells 23ABC that thanks to the support and assistance of the community, they are one of the few small businesses on Bakersfield Plaza.
“I wanted to make the decision that we had to close our doors but luckily the stimulus check saved us but we are still behind the eight ball,” added Coughlin.
“I think we can make it through another eight to nine months if we do,” added Coughlin.
Coughlin says that following the rules and regulations while other restaurants in the area have not put them at a competitive disadvantage.
He says he understands their choices but has not been influenced not to adhere to the restrictions.
“We tried to listen one more time to what the experts and scientists were saying. We didn’t look at it from an economic point of view and openly lose money every day. I just want to lay my head on the pillow at night because I know that.” I made the right decisions that I could live with later. “
Just a few miles away in the downtown area, the Locale Farm to Table restaurant opened its patio and also agrees to the difficult decision of following state orders.
Heather Laganelli, the owner, says they stood ready to get the “OK” for the terrace meal.
“With our space we’re just preparing like we’re going to have to do it the next day anyway. So everything we do every day is prepared for this to happen at a certain moment,” said Laganelli.
Coughlin and Laganelli remain optimistic about the future but continue to face the uncertainty of running a restaurant during a pandemic.