OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Alameda County is currently in the orange-moderate spread tier, but health officials say they anticipate a move backward into a more restrictive tier soon as new COVID cases soar.
That warning has many businesses wondering if they can survive yet another shut-down.
Alameda’s beloved Ole’s Waffle Shop has been around for 93 years. They’ve had indoor dining for a little over a month, but owner Ken Monize fears another round of shutdowns and restrictions will mean the end of his family restaurant.
“We’re at the point where it doesn’t make sense anymore,” Monize said .
Monize and his wife says they haven’t laid off a single worker since the pandemic started, and even sold their retirement property to keep all 40 of their staff.
“What we’ve done is to try and take care of our families, which is our employees,” said Monize.
Across the street, Alameda Bicycle owner Gene Oh, whose family has run this shop for more than 30 year is concerned.
“We’re lucky our sales are up but the Park Street district is all about the vibrancy of the street, and when we lose restaurants, we lose the vibrancy and foot traffic which hurts all of us,” said Oh.
The high demand for bicycles during the pandemic allowed Oh to hire more workers and even give raises. But it’s the looming restrictions that has this tightly-knit business community wondering how long can they hold on.
“There are days when you say to yourself that’s it I’m done and other days when you think I don’t know we can plow ahead,” said The Local owner Otto Wright.
“If they were to close again, we’re probably talking about half the restaurants on Park Street that are on the brink,” said Oh.
Indoor dining at 25% capacity has given Ole’s Waffle Shop a fighting chance, but another pause will mean a permanent good-bye for this man, who has done things the right way.
“If they shut us down again I’m going to lock the doors and that’s it. We’re at the end of the road here,” said Monize.
Health officials say if current infection trends continue, that would move the county all the way back into the purple wide-spread tier, which would mean even more restrictions for businesses.