But 98 percent close when contacted. Others with liquor licenses could face discipline

About 80 restaurants, bars, or other alcohol license holders have been investigated by the state for re-opening to customers in violation of California's stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While the vast majority of the state's 93,000 alcohol licensees appear to be complying with the orders to close to patrons and only operate curbside pick-up or takeout services, the state has received about 80 complaints in the past six weeks about places that have opened across the state.  

Of those establishments, 98% closed down once the state reached out, said public information officer John Carr of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The other 2% have been or will be rechecked, and could be subject to disciplinary action if they continue to violate the stay-at-home orders, Carr said. 

ABC wouldn't provide exact locations of complaints, but Carr said reports came from all over California, including Los Angeles and Orange counties in Southern California, El Dorado County in the central part of the state, and Tehama County in the northern part of the state.

The restaurant industry, which employed about 1.8 million Californians last year and had an economic impact of $97 billion in 2018, has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nationwide, the National Restaurant Association predicts about two-thirds of restaurant workers have lost their jobs, and the industry is on track to lose $240 billion by the end of the year.

In the Coachella Valley, nearly 11,800 food service workers are estimated to have lost their jobs between December and May. That's a decrease of about 68% of the total occupation, according to a May report from the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership. 

"The timing of the COVID-19 crisis has been lethal," the report said. "Businesses with a high concentration of jobs in tourism, hospitality and food have missed their busiest season."

While many restaurants have pivoted to take-out or delivery, such operations aren't likely to yield the same revenue and don't require as many staff members. But it's unclear when restaurants will be able to re-open their dining rooms.

Though Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that the next phase of business re-openings will begin Friday, he said seating dining won't be included. That's expected to come later, with "low-risk" businesses like bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores given the go-ahead first.

But counties can move faster than the state's guidelines for re-opening up certain industries if readiness criteria is met. Criteria include: Demonstrating a low prevalence of COVID-19, proving that the counties can meet testing and contact-tracing criteria, proving that the county health care system is prepared for a surge of cases, and ensuring that protective public health protocols are in place.