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Memorial Day Weekend Serves As A Trial Run For Restaurant Reopenings

Customers line up outside of Hodad's in Ocean Beach during the Memorial Day w...

Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Above: Customers line up outside of Hodad's in Ocean Beach during the Memorial Day weekend holiday on May 25th, 2020.

Many restaurants and outdoor areas opened over the Memorial Day weekend. While residents are excited to be out and about, business owners acknowledge it will take people awhile to get used to the new normal.

The beaches weren’t as crowded as a normal holiday weekend, but the taps were flowing at Mike Hess Brewery in Imperial Beach. There were a few very noticeable differences in brew pub, which has been closed since March.

Video by Roland Lizarondo

Masked customers were escorted to their well-spaced picnic tables and no one could belly-up to the bar. Once customers were at the table, they were asked to stay there unless they needed to go to the bathroom.

Jenise Geppinger, who goes by “Red,” is the general manager at the bar.

“Safety is our priority with our community, especially Imperial Beach," Red said. "They treat us really well. We purell sanitize all the tables, along with a sanitizing spray afterwards."

She said that police and local officials had checked in throughout the weekend to make sure that everything was going smoothly. The coronavirus has hit the South Bay harder than any other region in the county.

RELATED: San Diego Restaurants Back In The Dine-In Business, With Coronavirus Modifications

“As long as we’re doing our due diligence and our customers are doing their due diligence, i think we’re going to make it through," Red said. "But people following the rules is going to be what brings us together and helps us survive this whole pandemic.”

Mike Hess, the owner of his namesake brewery, was also on the premises. He was happy that the city had closed down the street in front of the brewery so customers could be outside where there’s more space.

“Maybe this will go for the entire summer [so we can] bring the product to the people. It's so nice to have a pedestrian pathway right here along the beach. it’s really fantastic,” Hess said.

County health officials have been watching closely how closely businesses are hewing to their guidelines.

Memorial Day weekend, considered the unofficial start of the summer, served as a trial run. As San Diego continues its downward trend in positive coronavirus cases, everyone is hoping for good results.

The Silver Strand was filled with people walking on the beach, with lifeguards and police patrolling nearby. But everyone kept their distance. Congregating is still not allowed on any beaches in San Diego County.

But it was another story on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach. People lined up and crowded sidewalks for tacos, Ice cream, and burgers.

Gehaan D’souza came down from Carlsbad for some burgers he was eating in his car with his two dogs. He thought Hodad’s had done enough to ensure safety.

“It was great, they actually had orange tape so we were all six feet apart and everyone was standing with masks and pretty socially distanced,” D’souza said.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

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Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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