San Diego restaurant owner defying shutdown after investing everything she had into outdoor dining

A San Diego restaurant owner who invested all of her savings into her outdoor patio is refusing to abide by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s regional stay at home order — but she doesn’t want to take on this fight alone. 

Alondra Ruiz, the owner of a vegan restaurant in North Park, pleaded in an Instagram post for fellow business owners to take a stand with her.

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Ruiz told Fox News that she never wanted this much attention, but said it’s necessary to take a stand for those “who are afraid to speak up.”

The Village (Alondra Ruiz)

“Fight for your business — that you have invested so much time, money and energy into — to stay open,” she said in the video post.

Her restaurant, The Village, had only been open for about two months before the coronavirus pummeled the industry. 

“Like every small business, we struggled,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz says she witnessed numerous restaurants close and, fearing the same fate, she “gathered all the money” she could and invested in a patio.

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“We spent the little money we had, thousands of dollars, to create a space for our customers,” she said. 

Initially, Ruiz said that she didn’t have enough funds to create an outdoor patio setup until August, two months after the state had allowed outdoor dining to resume. 

The Village ( Alondra Ruiz)

After she was finally able to put up the $3,000 to create a safe dining area, it was destroyed by a windstorm. Ruiz was then forced to fork over another $3,000 to rebuild.

On Monday, the state’s regional order limiting restaurants to take out and delivery went into effect for San Diego County, but Ruiz’s outdoor patio remained open.

The order is imposed on a given region if the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity drops below 15%. Newsom implemented the restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise at an alarming pace and threaten to overwhelm the health care system. 

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However, Ruiz says all of her food is placed in to-go containers and handed to customers who sit at tables placed six feet apart. 

The Village ( Alondra Ruiz)

“Restaurants, following the guidelines, spacing their tables six feet apart, are getting shut down,” she said. “It just doesn’t make sense.” 

However, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that a lack of masks at restaurants is a big concern.

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“I don’t think there’s any debate that, where people are in close proximity with other people not in their household, not wearing a mask and mingling for extended periods of time talking, singing, sharing — there’s an increased risk of transmission,” Ferrer said Monday, according to KTLA.

Ruiz plans to keep fighting but she knows it will take a “village” of people to make a difference.

“We will stand for what is right but in order to make a difference we can’t do it alone,” she wrote on Instagram. “It takes a VILLAGE. We hope you stand with us as we are standing for you.” 

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