By Collin Breaux | Email: cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com | Twitter: @collin_breaux

When Orange County went into the red tier on the state’s four-tiered, color-coded coronavirus monitoring system, Trevor Baird was ready to get back to indoor dining.

“We were excited for it,” Baird, owner of Trevor’s at the Tracks, said. “The inside had kind of been abandoned, so we had to do a deep-clean and get everything back on track, but it was easy. I have the staff already lined up.”

Easton Burke, 2, celebrates his birthday at Trevor’s at the Tracks with his parents Stephanie and Matt Burke. Indoor dining has returned to local restaurants at limited capacity after Orange County moved to the red tier in the state’s color-coded coronavirus tracking system. Photo: Collin Breaux.

The red tier designation on Sept. 8—the state’s second-highest risk level—effectively allows indoor dining to return at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Baird said their adjusted inside capacity is approximately 35 people.

“After a very busy summer, with what we had, to have a little bit of reprieve and have some relief with the heat with the air conditioning on is a little more enticing to everyone,” Baird said.

Patrons in general, though, reportedly still prefer to dine outdoors at the Trevor’s patio, particularly in the evenings to enjoy the Southern California weather. An additional seven patio tables have been added by the train plaza, through a program the city instituted to expand outdoor dining.

“Basically, that covers what we lost on the main patio because of social distancing and spacing out the tables appropriately,” Baird said. “I picked up what I lost, so I’m kind of at a net-even for the outside. My inside seating was 60% of my overall seating, so I lost over half of my overall seating.”

Trevor’s has added delivery and to-go service during the pandemic. They’re also staying open an additional day of the week.

“I used to be closed, historically over the last three years, on Mondays,” Baird said. “We felt the need, financially, to be open and get as much revenue as possible.”

The adjustments to the health crisis came after Trevor’s also had to deal with construction from the Verdugo Street Beautification Project.

“We had that street down for seven months, and soon as that gets lifted, COVID hits,” Baird said.

Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria, a nearby business, has also reinstituted some indoor dining. Co-owner Eric Miller said the return has been “about as good as expected.”

“Fortunately, we have had such nice weather after the crazy heat wave that people are enjoying dining al fresco as much as possible,” Miller said. “Those that do eat inside are happy to return back to some form of normalcy.”

Selma’s outdoor dining space includes their upstairs rooftop patio, where they offer live music in the evening Thursday through Sunday. “It’s been different, for sure,” Miller said of how overall business has been since the pandemic started. “But, fortunately, we are still in business and have been able to keep our entire staff employed. We are certainly proud of that. We are happy to be back serving our amazing patrons!”

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