SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The coronavirus pandemic is prompting sweeping new restrictions on California businesses. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday directed all nigh clubs, bars and wineries to temporarily shut down. He’s also called for restaurants to cut their occupancy by half.
The governor said unprecedented times call for drastic measures to increase social distancing — an effective way to contain the outbreak.
But for some already struggling businesses, they said the Newsom’s order could be the fatal blow that shuts them down for good. The temporary closures will also hurt thousands of workers.
“My husband is a bartender at Chase Center. He’s already been laid off,” said David Delgado, a bartender at The Cinch Saloon on Polk Street in San Francisco.
The Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors, suspended operations after the NBA decided to suspend it’s season. Delgado said now his bar will follow the governor’s directive to close down starting on Monday.
“We went from two income to zero income,” said Delgado. “Very worry, very worry.”
Delgado has no idea how he’ll pay rent. Frankly, he never thought he could go hungry working as a bartender.
“Can you imagine like San Francisco without bars?” Delgado said.
Down Polk Street at Lush Lounge, another bartender worried some already struggling bars will just close for good.
“They were having trouble in general staying open. And I think this can end a lot of people’s careers,” said bartender Lyndsay Przybyl.
Many restaurants echoed the same concern. Governor Newsom’s order stated restaurants can stay open if they cut occupancy by half and keep tables six feet apart.
“I don’t know how to seat my customers six feet apart. And I don’t know whether that’s going to be feasible to keep it open in the long term,” said Maria Nozzolino, who runs her family’s Ristorante Franchino on Columbus Avenue.
Under the new rules, she would only be allowed a few tables in her tiny Italian restaurant. She said many restaurants in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood were already seeing a decline in business long before the coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s one of those things that you want to get angry about, and then you can’t, because there’s really nobody to blame in the situation,” said Nozzolino.
The governor also called for the home isolation of people over age 65 and those with chronic disease, both high risk populations for the Coronavirus.
“I think it’s going to be hard mentally. I think we need to socially interact,” said San Francisco resident Reed Minuth, who was out on a walk.
“I’m not going to just stop living life because something is going around again,” said another San Francisco resident, Ardyth Sczerzen.
The governor said there are no plans at this point to enforce his directive by punishing people who don’t follow his order. The governors of Illinois and Ohio also issued similar orders on restaurants and bars.