The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown has been going on since March 11. Most non-essential businesses have been forced to shut down for months and months on end.
Bigger businesses don’t suffer as much and can recover quicker than smaller businesses.
Questions remain, such as: How are different family-owned businesses being hurt during this pandemic with the new shutdowns coming into effect again? How have they changed their business? And how are they adapting to stay open and running during these hard times?
Daniel Lavalle, the owner of Numero Uno, a pizza restaurant in Santa Clarita, has one of the best customer services in town and has loyal patrons. Numero Uno has been staying strong during this hard time. They have implemented safety measures, such as wearing face coverings.
“Everyone has to wear masks, including employees. We also have posted signs on our windows,” Lavalle said. “We provide hand sanitizer and clean constantly. We also have various food delivering options available for delivery and takeout is another option.”
“All the employees are tested before starting their shifts and we are no longer serving wine or beer because that’s only an option for sit-down, which we don’t offer currently,” Lavalle added. “We also have to be careful when packing food and sealing, putting extra care in that as well…we are doing good, but I’d rather see my smiling customers in the restaurant out having a great time out.”
Some of the non-essential businesses that have been hurt are massage parlors. Learning that they had to shut down for about two months, and this being the only source of income for some people, they had to make it work.
Chiang K. Luiken, the owner of Ken Mobile Massage, says that business has been on and off. The shutdowns have made it hard to stay active as a mobile business while feeling safe.
The biggest problem for the business was keeping therapists, as most started quitting for their own safety, making it a challenge to keep working with more clients.
One of the major changes for Luiken was the protocol for making an appointment.
“They have to go through a quiz before booking a massage with them and also customers must provide their own sheets,” said Luiken.
Knowing that the new shutdowns are coming back as of Nov. 30, Luiken also mentioned that “business is doing good for now but once they put the curfew orders (in), it’s going to collapse everything.”
In the case of many businesses that are able to stay open, owners are playing it by ear, since the regulations seem to be changing by the day. This is leaving owners stressed and nervous for their businesses.
Darren Moore, co-owner of High Desert Hobbies, said that business has been steady.
“Customers have been coming in because they are getting kids into hands-on hobbies,” he said. “Parents are trying to keep the kids busy at home and away from their electronics.”
“(The) biggest concern for them is the lack of ability to restock shelves for the Christmas season since production on imports were shut down from countries like China and Taiwan due to the coronavirus,” said Moore.
A positive for their small luxury toy store is that the business has been busier than ever. According to Moore, revenue has increased by 50% in the last four months.
Although local businesses have had an increase in traffic, it has been a challenge in one way or another. Local businesses are searching for support, but in a safe way.