PLEASANT HILL (KPIX) — For months many businesses in Contra Costa County have worked hard and been creative in finding ways to stay open safely but, virtually overnight, everything changed. On Friday, Contra Costa County shocked the business community by announcing new restrictions to begin ahead of the state lockdown order.
On Sunday night at 10 p.m., all outdoor dining venues that have popped up in downtown Danville will be shut down. Primo’s Pizza has spent thousands of dollars creating an outdoor sports bar with giant tents and 13 televisions. Owner Drew Nichols says he was on board with Gov. Newsom’s plan to restrict businesses when hospitals got overcrowded…READ MORE: No Rain In Forecast; Dry January Returns San Francisco To Parched Conditions
“But we aren’t doing that,” he said. “Now they’re just saying we’re ‘preventative.’ This could go on for months, I mean, you’re preventing businesses from doing business so I don’t quite grasp that.”
The business owners say they were taken by surprise by the early shutdowns.
Restrictions are scheduled to begin when hospitals reach 85 percent of their ICU capacity, which is expected to happen in mid- to late December.
At Sue’s hair salon in Pleasant Hill, Marie Santelices waited in her car for a last-minute haircut before all the salons are again shuttered on Sunday.
“I think it was expected after Thanksgiving,” Santelices said, “but probably not tomorrow!”
Co-owner Sonny Lam says the salon will be open 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. over the weekend to accommodate as many of their customers as possible. He says they have only half their normal staff and have been diligent about sanitizing and distancing.READ MORE: One Dead In Crash, Fire Involving Big-Rig On Eastbound Richmond-San Rafael Bridge
“We feel this is one of the safest places you can be compared to all the other stores so it’s just very difficult right now,” he said.
Those other stores are hurting as well. At Sun Valley Shopping Center, there are already lines to get into some stores but they will be even longer after Sunday when brick and mortar retailers can only operate at 20 percent capacity.
Bryan Nosanchuk was waiting in line for candles at Bath and Body Works.
“I got most of my shopping done on Black Friday online,” he said. “This is the only in-store thing that’s on my list to do. We’ll see what happens.”
For the first time, grocery stores will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. At the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market in Pleasant Hill, owner Jason Olson says it will help all retailers if people don’t bring extra guests along on shopping trips.
“Right now is not a time for the looky-loo … We’re almost more in a “mission-driven” sense,” Olson said.
Paul Johnson brought his son to the market for one last excursion before the shutdown and possible panic buying return.MORE NEWS: COVID: Marin County Begins Easing Rules As Omicron Surge Likely Peaking
“It’s scary because here we go again,” he said. “And this time I want to be ahead of the crowd and make sure some things get taken care of in my household so, if we have to hunker down, we have to hunker down.”