SAN RAFAEL (KPIX 5) — Nearly six weeks after the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place rules went into effect, North Bay small business owners say the hardships they’re facing are impossible to ignore.
The government may deem businesses like clothing shops, salons and shoe stores as non-essential, but to the people who own and work here, they are anything but. Stacy Kaplan sells dresses, shoes and jewelry at her San Rafael shop, Bella Boutique.READ MORE: COVID Vaccines: Marin County Set To Expand Eligibility; Seniors Say Finding Appointments Still A Challenge
She is frightened by what she sees, not just for her shop but her neighbors too.
“There are so many small businesses! I mean, we’ve got a nail salon, a hair salon, [fitness studio] Dailey Method. We have the cobbler, you know the alteration tailor. I mean, these people don’t know how they are going to pay their rents,” said Kaplan.
She said her financial pain is felt across the globe, too. Among the items she sells are free trade items manufactured in India by women making a fair wage. She explained they were laid off when U.S. orders dried up.
“It doesn’t just affect us. It affects the entire world,” said Kaplan.
Down the highway is the Tail Haven Pet Boarding and Day Care.
“We dropped 95 percent revenues overnight,” said owner Emily Ronnow.READ MORE: Stunning Yellow Superbloom Pops Up In Half Moon Bay - 'It's Perfect'
While it is considered an essential business, Emily says her business essentially vanished.
“We were averaging 50 to 60 dogs a day in this facility prior to this virus,” said Ronnow. That has dropped down to just between one and five dogs daily.
There were some dogs at the business that belonged to essential workers, but mostly the place is empty. Tubs for washing dogs stored along walls, a 20-foot couch usually filled with playing dogs and handlers untouched, everything washed and clean. No dogs. No business.
Ronnow is understandably worried.
“It’s going to be tough. We’re obviously operating at a loss,” she said.
“I would be just taking more money out of my home equity line or taking some of my kids savings out of their accounts,” said Bella Boutique owner Kaplan.MORE NEWS: COVID: Santa Clara Supervisors Approve $5/Hour Grocery Worker Hazard Pay
Both owners told KPIX 5 the small business loans were helping, but the money only goes so far.