Pandemic forces some businesses to close, while others are just opening their doors

Posted at 6:11 PM, Sep 30, 2020

Some businesses have been forced to close during the pandemic while others have opened for the first time.

Federico's restaurant is new to San Luis Obispo. It opened on Higuera Street on Sunday.

"We came across this location in November, so way before COVID," said owner Maria Hernandez.

She and her husband, Federico, were slated to get the keys in March. But being from Hawaii, they couldn't leave the then-locked down island to start the remodel.

"It was not our plan. We didn't anticipate it," Hernandez explained.

They're no strangers to hard times, however.

"We opened our first location in 2009 when the economy went down," she added.

Three years ago, they opened their second location in Kauai. The Central Coast marks their third.

"We fell in love with San Luis Obispo. We came across this location and we wanted to bring our aloha spirit out here to California," Hernandez said.

A number of other businesses are also opening their doors in San Luis Obispo.

"Like Ragtag Wine Company is opening on Higuera Street," said Bettina Swigger, Downtown SLO CEO. "They're a wine tasting room. Not open yet but they're getting ready to. Across the street from us is a CBD company on Chorro Street. They're getting ready to open as well."

Tortilla Town recently opened on Marsh Street plus Hotel Cerro.

Back at Federico's, with the opening delayed by three months due to COVID…

"It's been a challenge," Hernandez said.

The business is confident about what's to come.

"This pandemic isn't stopping us and we're going to be very successful," Hernandez said.

According to Downtown SLO, around 40 businesses opened in 2019, marking a banner year for the region.

At least 15 shops have closed in Downtown San Luis Obispo since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, retirement, or other reasons.