small businesses

Ramona Small Businesses Plead ‘Let Us Reopen' as Sobering Economic Numbers Released

Many small businesses feel they can control their environments and enforce strict safety protocols

NBC Universal, Inc.

As the San Diego Association of Governments releases a new report examining the six-month economic impact of COVID-19 on the region, some small business owners are making a plea to Gov. Gavin Newsom to give them another chance to reopen.

The SANDAG report examines the effects the pandemic has had on the San Diego region’s economy and shows that expected losses to the gross regional product will be about $12.4 billion.

Peter Bidegain, who owns Reds, Whites & Brews in Ramona, is a part of that sobering statistic. He said his bar and tasting room is losing an estimated $10,000 a month.

“I always think to myself that this cure they’ve come up with is worse than the pandemic,” Bidegain told NBC 7 on Thursday.

Bidegain's business has been shut down since May 20, except for several weeks in July when some businesses were allowed to reopen. Reds, Whites & Brews then shut down a second time.

Bidegain feels the time has come to allow small businesses that can control their environments and enforce strict safety protocols to be allowed to reopen.

“We’re on it: We can see everything at a glance, and if something looks not quite in place, we can correct it instantly," Bidegain said. "And we did that the two weeks we were open in July."

Right across the street from Bidegain's business is Salon Blondies, which is owned by Aleigha Elston, who shares the opinion that small businesses should be allowed to reopen.

Elston’s salon has partially opened with restrictions, but she said she’s still losing significant business.

“I would say each stylist loses anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 a month,” Elston said. “A whole industry should not be penalized for one or two salons, or one or two people who aren’t doing things correctly, when we have everyone in here -- sanitizing, booking extra time in between clients to make sure we are disinfecting and sanitizing properly."

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