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Businesses in small Central Coast town that depend on tourists say they're barely holding on

Posted at 6:25 PM, Dec 18, 2020

Business owners in a small Central Coast town that is dependent mostly on tourism say they’re struggling as more people stay home during the pandemic.

Dominica Valencia who owns Los Alamos Market with her husband says the town hasn't seen many tourists for months now.

"Here in the town, we do have a lot of tourism on the weekends. We got a lot of people from LA, out of the country, a lot of people out of the country who come here to visit and do wine tasting and enjoy the area and what we have to offer,” Valencia said.

But since the pandemic, things have drastically slowed down for a lot of the businesses. Many had to shut their doors due to low demand.

"As far as demand and supply, that's an issue. The motels are trying to keep up with the laws which we all are to keep our employees and clients safe,” Valencia said.

Owners say what would normally be a busy start to a Friday afternoon leading into the weekend is now slow.

The owner of Charlie's Place, a well-known restaurant in Los Alamos, says before the pandemic, people would be lucky if they were able to find a parking spot due to the flood of tourists.

"You can see a big difference on the weekends here in town because when you come down to Los Alamos, the streets would be packed with cars and everybody would be busy and now all the businesses have shut down and it's sad,” said owner Charlie Gonsales.

Gonsales says the only reason he is still open now and hasn't had to lay off anyone is due to community support.

"If It wasn't for the locals, I would be shut down completely but the locals keep me going and then a lot of my customers that have been coming here for 42 years have really helped me,” Gonsales said.

Business owners say they hope tourists start to slowly come back once stay-at-home orders are lifted so the town can go back to how it once was.

“We are doing the best we can to accommodate everyone the best we can and to have patience with us because we do want the tourist to come to town, we do want them to enjoy our area,” Valencia said.