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San Diego bar owners prepare to shut down their bars again

Owners of Carriage House in Kearny Mesa said business is down 50%.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County announced new restrictions for bars Tuesday. Starting July 1, any establishment selling alcohol must shut down at 10 p.m. each night.

"It’s just tough. We can’t do this again," said Rachel Dymond, co-owner of Carriage House Cocktails in Kearny Mesa.

The bar recently reopened for business, and now it must shut down again. 

"Everything I’ve worked for might go down the drain," said fellow co-owner Andrew Haines. "We didn’t get any relief from our landlord when we did open up. We're $35,000 in the hole."

On Monday, county leaders told the public that any bar, brewery or winery that doesn't serve food must close completely. Officials said these restrictions are necessary due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the county.

Dymond said they will try and partner with a nearby restaurant in an attempt to remain open. Dymond said business is already down 50%. She said everyone at the bar is following all the rules.

"I think they really need to look at the businesses by themselves," she said. "We're just a local bar with a lot of regulars."

Meanwhile, at Whistle Stop bar in South Park, owner Sam Chammas had planned on reopening July 6, but will now have to wait. 

"To be honest, [it was] a bit of a relief," he said. "We weren't quite ready to reopen. You look around, we're doing a lot of construction."

Chammas said some of his employees were nervous to come back now anyway. 

He owns the building where the bar is located. He also owns a nearby restaurant. Financially, Chammas said he's okay for now, and can wait it out awhile longer.

"Just got to wait," he said. "I do know this will end."

"Bars will be busy again," he added. "We want that. We need that."

Back at Carriage House, the owners said they worry about the future.

"If we can’t stay open and this continues, what are we gonna do?" said Dymond. "If we can’t be open, we can’t get back to regular functioning, it’s not going to work."

"It’s scary, thinking it could all go away," said Haines. "You work for something your entire life. You finally get it and through no fault of your own 'Yeah, we’re just gonna take that away.'"

The county said it will revisit the possibility of reopening bars that don't serve food August 1.

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