Roxxane's Bar

Robert Molina, owner of Roxxane's in Long Beach, has had to make a lot of changes to his restaurant but he plans to reopen soon after dine-in restrictions were lifted in Long Beach. 

Just a few hours after Los Angeles County got approval from the state to open restaurant dining rooms that had been shut down due to the pandemic on Friday, May 29, Long Beach followed suit to allow dine-in for restaurants in the city.

Like restaurants all over the county, for a couple of months Long Beach restaurants have either temporarily closed or have been surviving on takeout and delivery only.

Long Beach has its own health department, but was included in an application that Los Angeles County submitted to the state earlier this week asking for the approval to move forward with dine-in.

While he’s eager to start serving craft cocktails and his Latin American cuisine in his restaurant again, Robert Molina, owner of Roxanne’s Cocktail Lounge, is a little nervous about how customers will respond when he opens with restrictions in place.

“It’s a relief but I also have mixed emotions. You have customers that are going to want to be safe and want to be distanced and then you’re going to have customers that are not supportive and not want to follow guidelines,” he said.

But he knows his future depends on his dining room and he could reopen in the next couple of days.

He’s been preparing by spacing out tables so everyone is six feet apart. And not only does he have masks for all his staff, he also has a supply of disposable masks on hand that he can provide to customers if needed.

He has disposable menus ready, too, and since he runs a distillery next door he’s making his own sanitizer which he’s using to clean the restaurant and tables.

Molina also plans on applying for a permit to be able to set up tables in his parking lot so he can safely seat more customers.

“I think we’re ready because we’ve been preparing for this as we saw other cities start to open,” he said.

Meanwhile, at Komo’s Cocina on Naples Island, owner Lisa Buchanan said there is still some apprehension among her and her staff when it comes to opening the dining room.

“We still have some hesitance about making sure people are going to comply with masks and stuff like that,” she said.

Like Molina, she has been preparing by making sure her tables are far enough apart for safety. She’s also going to close the bar area, has ended her buffet options for now and has laminated her paper menus so they are easier to clean.

“Otherwise we would have to throw the menus away and we try really hard to work on conservation and recycling,” she said.

She just purchased a forehead thermometer to take her employees’ temperatures before their shifts and she will require customers to put on a mask if they are not sitting at their tables.

And to clean her tables she is taking a cue from the beauty industry and is using Barbicide, a strong disinfectant solution used by barbers, to clean all surfaces.

“I would say we need a couple of days (before opening) to get all this implemented and get our staff comfortable with it,” she said.

Todd Miller, co-owner of The 908 at the Long Beach Exchange, isn’t wasting any time in opening his classic American food restaurant.

“We are going to open today with limited dine in at 5:30,” he wrote in an email Friday afternoon shortly after a phone interview.

Besides separating his tables to endure safe distance, having his staff wear masks and ordering plexiglass that he plans to install on his booths, he’s also hired a specialized cleaning company that will routinely spray his restaurant.

“It’s exciting, you’re also anxious and you want to make sure you’re cautious and you’re doing this correctly,” he said.

“What’s most exciting is getting back to a little bit of just being normal,” he added.

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