Fred 62 Google Map

Fred 62 in Los Feliz

And so the rules change once again for Eastside restaurants. It was only about a month that customers were allowed to dine inside. Seating was readjusted. New equipment was bought.

But the cases of COVID spiked back up, and news came down on Wednesday that dine-in service would be forbidden once again, for a least three more weeks.

"The drag about it is we felt like we were turning a corner and getting close to breaking even," said Ian Hillan, general manager at Fred 62 in Los Feliz.

The restaurant had even laid down some money to adapt to the situation - putting up dividers between the booths so they could raise the amount of legal seating from 30 percent of their normal capacity to 50 percent.

The saving grace for Fred 62 - and a lot of other restaurants - is outdoor seating. Fred 62 has outside tables around its corner perimeter.

Señor Fish in Eagle Rock also has enough outside seating to carry them through the lean times, according to co-owner Alicia Ramirez. Their Echo Park location never used to have a lot of outdoor seating - but it’s getting some, Ramirez said.

The Black Cat in Silver Lake also recently announced it was setting up exclusively for al fresco dining - a fortuitous decision, since they planned to reopen July 1, the very day that dine-in service was revoked again.

"As we all know, these are very strange times to navigate. But we will always put the health of our Black Cat family and friends of the cat first," said Charlie Conrad, owner of the Black Cat.

Plus, after months of adapting to take-out and delivery service, some restaurants didn’t lean too heavily in to dine-in service anyway, even once it came back on line.

"There wasn't a lot of dining in tables,” said the manager at Viet Noodle Bar in Atwater Village, who would identify himself only as "Frat." "It won't affect much. It was only three tables a day. We were mostly to-go anyways. Whatever needs to be done is fine."

But that’s for now. In three weeks, or two months, or tomorrow, the rules may change again.

"We’re just doing it a day at a time," Hillan said.

Additional reporting by Melody Waintal.

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