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Local businesses in downtown San Luis Obispo begin to re-open, as California enters early Stage 2

Posted at 11:38 PM, May 08, 2020

California began the first steps of its reopening plan on Friday, which included allowing some retailers to re-open using curbside pick-up.

Moving into Stage 2 in California was a welcome sign for some businesses in Downtown San Luis Obispo, as local businesses have faced a challenging couple of months after many retailers had to close their doors due to COVID-19.

"They've been kind of tough and there's been a little bit of foot traffic here in Downtown SLO but not much going on," said Matt McCrystal, West Coast Silve Co. manager.

However, after Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state would move into early Stage 2 Friday, more retailers were allowed a modified re-opening.

"I definitely think today there's been something, something has definitely shifted or changed since the governor has allowed this curbside pickup, and a few people have come in and it's great to see, it's definitely encouraging," said McCrystal.

For some businesses the move to re-open didn't come soon enough.

Bambu Batu has been in Downtown San Luis Obispo for 14 years, but next month they'll be closing their doors for good.

"The COVID situation definitely wasn't something that worked in our favor, that was definitely one of the big considerations and it's just not going to be the same for small businesses, " said Fredd Hornaday, Bambu Batu owner.

As businesses try to make up for the time they’ve been closed, owners say they've had to adapt and get creative to make sales.

"We're doing 25-percent off everything," said McCrystal.

"We've had to really focus on online, social media, just any different online platform I can find, just going in as many directions as possible," said Hornaday.

Several companies have already been offering curbside pickup for weeks and don't know if today's re-opening was a major turning point.

"I think it's a little bit of the same, I think until the bars and restaurants can kind of come back and open, I think we can start to see some things go back to normal," said McCrystal.

Governor Newsom says this stage allows roughly 70-percent of businesses to reopen with modifications .

The state is developing guidelines for shopping malls and outdoor museums to reopen next and says they plan on releasing guidelines for dine-in restaurants next Tuesday.