‘It’s just devastating’: Folsom businesses respond to COVID-19 tier drop

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FOLSOM, Calif. (KTXL) – Diners will soon be taking their food outside once again as Sacramento County moves into the more restrictive purple tier of COVID-19 guidelines.

“It’s just devastating to our businesses,” said Folsom Chamber of Commerce CEO Joe Gagliardi.

With Black Friday and the holiday shopping season just two weeks away, the small business community of Folsom says these tighter restrictions could take a serious economic toll.

“This is our bread and butter for every small restaurant, mom and pop restaurant out there,” said Jeff Back, owner of Back Bistro. “This is the holiday season, it’s make or break. During the year, we try to break even, make some money here and there. The holidays, that’s what pushes us over the edge.”

Back said these past eight months have been tough on small business owners everywhere.

“It’s been a lot of trials and tribulations, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of thinking on your feet, creativity, determination, desperation,” Back told FOX40.

He’s lost money from having to limit his services and invest in things like heat lamps to adapt to the changes.

Gagliardi said he’s already seen small businesses in the city close their doors for good.

He worries that restaurants in Sacramento County won’t be able to compete with neighboring counties like El Dorado County, which can still serve customers indoors at limited capacity.

“El Dorado Hills is right close by and they’re in red and we’re in purple. So, we really want this to be evaluated by zip codes because we believe we could possibly be in a better tier and our restaurants could be able to have some inside dining,” Gagliardi explained. “A lot of them making their money in the holiday season and this is going to have a huge impact on them.”

Gagliardi added that many business owners have been looking forward to the holiday season to make up for the losses. Now, they fear that with these new restrictions, some won’t be able to hold on for much longer.

“For restaurants, there’s zero chance we’re going to be able to serve outside and make it. We’re going to lose money. So, if we could get just anything inside, even 10%, something, it’s really going to help,” said Back.

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