LA starts shutting down due to coronavirus outbreak


Even for a rainy day, Jared Koziak said he could not remember seeing his restaurant so empty.

“Normally, we would at least have a couple of people in,” says Koziak, who works as a server at Sawyer restaurant in Silver Lake. “But right now, no one has walked in except for you.”

That was Saturday at 11 A.M. Eventually, a few patrons strolled in.

But as fears continue to mount from the spread of the novel coronavirus, cities and counties across California are taking drastic steps.

The dining room at Sawyer last Saturday as fears surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus rise. Photo by Benjamin Gottlieb.

For the remainder of March, the dining room at Sawyer will look just like it did last Saturday morning: empty, along with every other restaurant in the city, because of an order by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Only take-out will be allowed.

“Movie theaters, performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades, gyms and fitness centers will [also] be closed to the public,” Garcetti said. “We're urging houses of worship to limit gatherings on their premises.”

Garcetti added that “groceries, pharmacies and food banks are [...] exempt from this order of closure.”

For Koziack, he said he should be able to manage. He has a second job. But he admitted he will not be making much money.

And it is not just service workers that will feel the effects of Garcetti’s order, but the businesses that supply them too.

Nick Long sitting at his booth at the Silver Lake Farmers Market on Sunset Boulevard. Photo by Benjamin Gottlieb.

“We cater to a lot of restaurants. We sell microgreens to them, and they are slowing down,” said Nick Long, who works with Metro Greens. “So that is where the anxiety level has come up a little bit.”

For the latest, check out KCRW’s coronavirus coverage here.