Normal Heights

Businesses Learn to Ride the COVID Closure Rollercoaster

NBCUniversal, Inc.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom slowed the state's reopening plan this week, closing down indoor dining and bars, and imposing further closures on businesses in counties on the state's watch list. While it might feel like the state is moving backward, some business owners believe we're in a better position than we were back in March when the stay-at-home order was first imposed.

Dia del Cafe in Normal Heights stopped serving its specialties -- empanadas and tamales -- when the stay-at-home order began but has been selling coffee through a window onto the street. Although the restaurant did not shift to indoor dining when it was permitted, even for the brief time period that was allowed, it has been utilizing its outdoor patio for guests.

"To be honest, during the first closures in March, a lot of places were closing, and I was fortunate enough to stay open," said Antonio Ruelas, the owner of Dia del Cafe.

Elsewhere in Normal Heights, convenience stores have remained open throughout the pandemic, with social distancing protocols in place and a prohibition on entry without a facial covering.

There have been several studies that show that more masks mean fewer positive cases. Public health officials in San Diego are hoping that if more people wore masks, it would translate to a smaller amount of cases, which would, in turn, permit more businesses opening back up again.

Ruelas also owns the barbershop next door and said that that business hasn't been as lucky. It closed in March and reopened in June, but closed down again this week.

"Now that we’re closed again, it's just like we’re going backward, and it's very upsetting," said barber Jonathan Santa Maria. "I don’t know what to think, honestly. I hope it doesn’t last too long, because I can’t go another three months."

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