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LODI, Calif. (KTXL) — As the stay-at-home order is lifted across California, restaurant owners and employees are eager to get back to work after a very difficult year.

At El Pazcifico Mexican Grill and Cantina in downtown Lodi on Monday, customers were once again sitting down to eat.

“Thank God we’re open again and I hope we’re not going to close again,” said El Pazcifico owner Isabel Escrada Chavez.

Escrada Chavez said all the opening and closing this year has been tough on her and her employees.

“We are very frustrated, especially for our employees,” she told FOX40. “They depend on this job to pay the bills.” 

After the governor’s announcement to end the state’s stay-at-home order, San Joaquin County is back in California’s purple reopening tier.

While that means only outside dining is allowed, Escrada Chavez said none of her customers want to sit out in the cold and she’s not going to make them.

“We have our back patio open too, but it’s so cold right now to have people out there, and they’ve been very good to support us here,” Escrada Chavez explained. 

Other restaurants FOX40 visited Monday also had some customers sitting inside. Even though the state guidelines say only outdoor dining is permitted, many restaurants said they leave that decision up to their customers.

Elsewhere in Lodi, many restaurants and wine tasting rooms were still closed. Under the purple tier, they can reopen once again.

“I’ve been praying for all the restaurants out here, around in downtown, and they’re not open yet. Hopefully, they open this week,” Escrada Chavez said.

Meanwhile, if she is ever ordered to return to takeout only, Escrada Chavez admitted she may not.

She said if she is forced to close again, she may not be able to reopen next time.

“We have a lot of employees that want to support their families, and if we close, that’s going to be it,” she said. “And I don’t think we’re going to close.”