As San Diego County is poised to move to the more restrictive purple tier in the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system, local businesses are bracing for yet another change that will impact their livelihoods.
“It’s nerve-racking. There have been some sleepless nights because of the uncertainty of how do we face this, how do we deal with this," said Carlos Stance, owner of Bowlegged BBQ in Mt. Hope.
Stance and his sibling’s opened the restaurant in November 2018. Part of the appeal of the restaurant is its vibrant indoor dining experience.
The walls are lined with photographs and album artwork of Rock n’ Roll and Rhythm and blues artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix to the Jackson 5. There are statues and colorful cultural artwork adorns the walls.
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And then, everything changed.
“Initially, before the COVID, everyone wanted to sit inside, and when we had to go to takeout only, that affected our business to a certain degree, and as we evolved to outside seating we had to transform our inside to try to make the outside, compliment what the inside was about,” said Stance.
Stance and his family have spent at least $10,000 for outdoor upgrades. He considers himself lucky for several reasons. He has the room to set up tables outdoors and his loyal customers have been extremely supportive.
“Although it’s not the way we want it to be, and it’s a moving target, we’re continuing to make improvements outside. Our customers have been the best in the world. So, thank you to all of our customers who have been patient with us and supportive of us,” said Stance.
As for looming tighter restrictions, Stance says he has extreme empathy for all business owners. He’s asking customers for their continued support.
“Be patient with the restaurants because the ones that I go to, the ones that I know, are really working hard to try to make sure that we stay open and we’re following all the guidelines, whatever they might be,” said Stance.
But for other businesses like some nail salons-- outdoors isn't an option.
“It just doesn’t make sense for us to be open outdoors,” said Cindy Cate, owner of Hello Birdie Nail and Lash Lab in North Park.
“We're on a busy street with no outdoor space," she said.
Bracing for her third closure since March.
“It just gets harder and harder every time," she said.
Expanding online retail and workshops to help get through the next potential closure while neighboring businesses would continue operations as is.
"Our family in the beauty industry with the hair salons are able to stay open in this next tier and there’s really no reason why we shouldn’t be able to either," she said.
Trying to stay positive as she says she braces for many more months of reopenings and closures.