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“It’s getting tougher and tougher.” Local businesses facing new setbacks after statewide closures

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 00:49:36-04

Restaurants, bars, personal care services, and other industries just got comfortable getting back to business, but that didn't last long.

San Luis Obispo County landed itself on the state’s COVID-19 watch list and now businesses have to heed new closure orders announced by Governor Newsom Monday.

"We have reservations for the next month out,” said Douglas MacMillan, owner of Ada's Fish House & Rosa's Ristorante Italiano. “We are working diligently to call them and say, 'Hey, do you mind sitting in a parking lot, once it gets permitted?'"

He’s rushing to get permits that would convert the parking lot of Ada's Fish House in Pismo Beach into an outdoor dining room.

MacMillan and his team are forced to adapt after Gov. Newsom issued a statewide order Monday to close:

“It's hard to be on a yo-yo string all the time, but there's nothing we can do about it. If that's what's going to be mandated, then that is what we have to do, unfortunately,” said Billy Hales, owner of Frog & Peach and other San Luis Obispo County bars.

On top of those, a second round of closures was issued for counties that have been on the state's watch list for more than three days:

While these industries aren't required to close immediately in San Luis Obispo County, public health officials say "be prepared to."

“You don't know what to prepare for, you don't know if they are going to close us down again, if they will close us down for three months or three weeks,” said Maryah Lilly, owner of Bluebird Salon.

Health officials said the county has seen a rate of about 114 cases per 100,000 population, exceeding the state's 100 case threshold.

For the last week, public health officials put out warnings that SLO County could end up on the state’s watch list, but businesses owners said getting that official word didn’t soften the blow.

“I’m trying to do the right thing. I mean, I’ve got a family with kids so I want to make sure they are safe too, so I understand it,” said Hales. “However, it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow when you see your business drifting. It’s tough.”

San Luis Obispo County is still meeting other state metrics, including testing and hospitalization rates and the availability of hospital beds.