Reopening San Diego

Without Renewed Stimulus, Many San Diego County Businesses Continue to Struggle

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Earlier this summer, 47,000 local companies received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, NBC 7 Investigates reported.

Even though President Donald Trump offered some hope for workers with a tweet on Tuesday night asking Congress to send him a stand-alone bill for a $1,200 stimulus check, the clock is still ticking for businesses that are struggling to stay open.

Goodonya, a popular restaurant in Encinitas, procured a Paycheck Protection Program loan earlier this year but because the company had to spend it in eight weeks or give it back, most of it went to rent. Other hurdles came later, like the cost of building an outdoor patio at a time when revenue remains low.

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Without more support, 85% of independent restaurants may permanently close by the end of 2020, the Independent Restaurant Coalition estimates.

"These are the restaurants that make up the fiber, the soul, the meeting places where you love to go get coffee,” Goodonya restaurant owner Kris Buchanan said.

Goodonya does more business on the new outdoor patio than the 25 percent occupancy Buchanan is allowed to have inside, but the lights, the wood, the labor and umbrellas cost $12,000, Buchanan told NBC 7.

"It will help in the future to make up for the losses, but we have to get over the hump right now," Buchanan said.

Just north on the 101, fellow restaurant owner Paula Vrakas is keeping The Roxy afloat.

The president, who originally announced his intent to cancel stimulus negotiates on Tuesday, immediately put her 60 employees at risk, Vrakas said.

"It just kind of hammers home the fact that this has become a very political pandemic," Vrakas said.

PPP loans here and at her year-old Denver restaurant paid the rent and employees.

Vrakas built back her business on the 101, but without PPP loans, the Denver operation won't last till January, Vrakas said.

"If we have a couple of bad weeks out there, we will have to shutter the doors," Vrakas said. "Perhaps for good or perhaps until after the election, but it is a harsh reality."

Given a second PPP loan, Goodonya would hire a training manager and buy more tables.

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