By Andrea Nakano

BERKELEY (KPIX) — Fears of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 have Bay Area business owners and their employees on edge, wondering if they’ll be able to financially survive the ongoing crisis.

In downtown Berkeley, coronavirus concerns keep patrons away from shops and restaurants. The Revival Bar and Kitchen would normally be booming with business on theater night.

“It’s frightening,” said Revival chef and owner Amy Murray, surveying the empty tables in her establishment which she opened in 2010 on Shattuck Ave. “It’s unprecedented. We haven’t been through this dance routine; It’s a weird mix of a storm,” she added.


Murray said that at least half of her daily reservations are getting wiped out after the nearby Berkeley Repertory Theater went dark in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Murray adds, “The theaters announced they were going to close and we start to see the cancellations come in but, by then, I already did the food prep and started to get ready.”

The banquets are gone as well. As Murray explained, “We had 14 private events scheduled in our back room in the month of March and 12 canceled … that represents 30-40 thousand dollars that erases from the bottom line.”

The city of Berkeley is looking for ways to help small businesses but councilwoman Rashi Kesarwani said they don’t have the financial resources that the state and federal governments might be able to provide.

Kesarwani said, “My hope is those loans can go out into our communities as soon as possible because our small businesses are struggling.”

Murray said she’s trying to find ideas to make it through the next couple months. One idea is to deliver healthy, immunity-boosting foods to attract some business.