MONROVIA, Calif. — Filling up to-go bottles is how you can get a cocktail these days at Sena On Myrtle.
A stark contrast to how this bar used to be, packed with customers.
And none of this was what owner Nikki Caiello expected her restaurant to become when she opened it in 2011, but since the pandemic, all expectations have changed.
“It’s like being on a roller coaster that there’s no fun part of it. It’s not ups and downs, we never know what to expect", said Caiello.
She’s a third generation restaurateur and from the Monrovia area.
Throughout the county's numerous closings and reopenings she’s lost more than half her staff.
So while the news broke that the Governor has lifted stay-at-home orders, it’s just added to the mental and emotional toll, as they’re not ready for the amount of customers that will flock to dine outside.
“I need to rehire all of our staff, we need to clean the patio, we need to re-setup all of our outdoor dining. Get everything out of storage", said Caiello.
So while the Governor has made the call, she’s awaiting on L.A. County officials for directives.
Nikki is hoping that if they say L.A. County can open for outdoor dining, that they will give restauranteurs a date.
“It’s going to be in 14 days, 10 days, we’ll definitely start seeing the numbers drop by then, and then that’s it. No changing the day," said Caiello.
Later in the day, Nikki is writing on more bottles for to-go cocktails and posting to social media.
But once Monday’s L.A. County Public Health Press conference begins, she’s all eyes and ears to see how the Governor’s lifting of restrictions will impact her business.
“On Friday as I noted, we’ll issue a new health officer order. That allows for restaurants to reopen and for outdoor dining with occupancy limits, and masking requirements for all staff", said L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
She learns that outdoor dining will be allowed starting Friday.
While it’s good news for restaurants like Sena, it’s also an emotional moment.
“We should be open by the weekend. I’m just happy and I’m scared. I’m just really scared", said Caiello.
It shows the stress that businesses have been under to try to survive.
But after another moment of letting the news sink in, she’s ready to do what she has to do, once again reopening outdoor dining.
“It’s okay, we can do it, we can do it," said Caiello. "It’s just the thought of that and just the anticipation of that, it’s just so much. We’ll do it."