Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, The Mexico Cafe has complied with state orders and made numerous changes to its operations to ensure the safety of its guests and employees by getting certified by the County of San Bernardino for being COVID Compliant.
Initially, the restaurant completely closed down for two weeks at the start of the pandemic to assist in flattening the curve.
Since then, the restaurant has had to shift its operations about four times as the guidelines switched from 50 percent indoor capacity, to 25 percent indoor capacity, to outdoor dining and now back to to-go orders only.
“I understand the severity of COVID-19…but my frustration is that the state does not know what the heck they are doing. Since March The Mexico Cafe has experienced a 70 percent loss of revenue and now we’re losing almost 70 percent of our employees,” said Sharon Gaitan, The Mexico Café co-owner.
The restaurant, a staple in the San Bernardino community for almost 70 years, recently garnered much attention when one of its Facebook posts went viral for expressing frustrations regarding California Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay at home order, issued on December 3.
“I want to set one thing straight…we do not want to close down in San Bernardino. Yes, we are currently building a second location in Temecula and had we known about this pandemic when we began two years ago, we wouldn’t have made the purchase. We have seven generations of patrons that have come here and our main concern is regarding our current employees,” Gaitan said.
She went on to share that her restaurant employs numerous single mothers and the last thing she wants to do is to be forced to lay off more employees, due to stay at home orders affecting her employees’ operations.
“The restaurant industry has been severely affected and what upsets me most is the hypocrisy from our governor and other political leaders. Governor Gavin Newsom has been seen dining indoors without a mask, his children have been going to school, and his business has not been shut down. How are they picking and choosing which businesses can operate…what they’re doing is destroying small businesses,” continued Gaitan.
The owners of the restaurant detailed how they have had to forgo receiving paychecks, just so they can meet payroll deadlines for their employees.
Along with the scarcity of meeting payroll, the restaurant has spent thousands of dollars to comply with state orders by having to purchase plexiglass, face shields and masks for employees, sanitizers, E-Z UP’s, fans, misters, heaters, lighting and much more.
“Even with a 70 percent loss of revenue our business is still having to pay for utilities, water, electricity, pest control, property taxes, business fees, liquor license fees, insurance, maintenance, and food supply. The state has not supported us through this pandemic, it has been very trying. We encourage our guests to come visit us to sign our recall petition,” concluded Gaitan.
For the time being, The Mexico Cafe will continue operating according to state regulations and encourage their guests to continue placing orders.