SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – As in most other counties affected by the curfew, non-essential gatherings must stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
You can still go out for groceries or walk the dog but bars and restaurants must close at 10.
Cocktails and dreams were its motto before the pandemic but doing business now is more like a nightmare for the Branham Lounge.
The popular bar and restaurant in San Jose’s Almaden Valley is serving customers outdoors in keeping with health orders.
Those cocktails are served until 2 a.m. but on Saturday that comes to an end when a newly imposed curfew will shut down business at 10 p.m.
The curfew is well intentioned but unfair and misguided, says owner Tony Griffis.
“That’s all that’s happening, the party’s not stopping because the bars are closed, it’s just moving to private residences where they’re having 50, 100 people or even smaller, 20 people where there are no mask regulations, and a lot of people don’t believe in the mask, and you’re getting super spreaders there,” Griffis said.
The curfew arrived just as many bars and restaurants were offering limited indoor dining.
Other bars dreading the curfew are Post Streets 55 South, one of the al fresco destinations in downtown San Jose.
55 South and PS2 on North Almaden both offer extensive outdoor seating and late-night service and the curfew is going to hurt, says co-owner Eric Nielsen.
“Basically what it means is we’re going to lose an additional 15-20 percent of our revenue every week when we’re already down for the year, I’m down like 88, close to 90 percent and you know, we’re just starting to claw back some of it and now we’re heading right back in the wrong direction,” Nielsen said.
Not all of the businesses impacted by the curfew are open late but most are operating on a tight margin.
Many did not receive pandemic relief.
The Branham Lounge invested $15,000 in an outdoor tent, furniture and other pandemic-related supplies.
People could see their hours cut back again. Tony Griffis believes the curfew is counter productive.
“If the real culprit here is private gatherings, then maybe instead of targeting bars, we target Costco’s, Safeway’s, and liqour stores, and see if we can cut alcohol sales there so if people do want to get a drink they have to come to a controlled environment that is safe for them,” Griffis said.
Closing the bar at 10 o’clock means last call could come as early as 9:15.
As for enforcement for their part, San Jose police say that they’re going to be taking an approach similar to the original shelter in place. They say they will emphasize education, opposed to immediately starting to cite people for violations.