SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — On a night that’s traditionally full of food and festivity, New Year’s Eve 2020 will look a lot different.
“On a normal year, it’s just the whole town getting together,” Finney's Craft House & Kitchen director of operations David Annaguey said. “All the restaurants are open till probably past New Year’s Eve.”
Southern California’s regional stay-at-home order has been extended, meaning no indoor or outdoor dining at restaurants.
It’s to-go options only tonight at Finney’s, as the staff expects sales to be down 80% compared to this time last year.
“I think that there’s still going to be a lot of orders from home,” Annaguey said. “A lot of delivery, pickup orders.”
Earlier this afternoon, the businesses was attracting plenty of tourists making the most out of an altered vacation experience.
Hudson Marix is visiting town from Texas.
“It is weird but we’ve kind of gotten used to just taking the food and going somewhere else to eat it,” he said. “It kind of gives us more time to see the city.”
Across town at Harry's Plaza Cafe, it was relatively quiet on a night that’s usually packed with people ringing in the New Year.
“It’s a surreal New Year’s Eve with everything having to be shutdown,” Harry's general manager Kevin Hebert said. “Days like this in the restaurant industry are the days you look forward to, it’s supposed to be your peak day.”
Tonight will be tough without its’ loyal customers celebrating inside with large meals, champagne flowing and big bills.
“Take-out only, it’s a huge cut,” Hebert said. “It’s only 10% of what our sales would be right now.”
Looking ahead to 2021, both businesses shared their hopes and goals.
“Being able to bring back our team as quickly as possible and provide those jobs,” Annaguey said.
“I hope that we can go back to being able to seat people inside, so that people can be able to socialize,” Hebert said.