Small business owners worried about financially surviving next round of COVID-19 closures

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Message after message flooded into the Elle Nail Spa in West Sacramento Monday afternoon as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced various indoor businesses like salons must shut down in 30 counties across the state, including Yolo.

“It’s kind of tough because we haven’t really recovered from the initial shut down yet. Quite still in the struggling stages of trying to get back up and following the guidelines,” Elle Nail Spa owner Chrystyne Vo said.

The order closes non-essential offices, places of worship, indoor malls, fitness centers and personal care services, along with indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, zoos and museums.

Monday’s announcement was a surprise for Vo, who thought social distancing, masks and plastic shields would be enough to keep her salon safe and open. She’s now working to cancel hundreds of appointments made through the month of August.

“Scary with the unknown. Because you don’t know how long it’s going to be until we are able to reopen again,” Vo said.

The order comes as COVID-19 cases are going up across much of the state.

While Vo recognizes the need for safety, she doesn’t know whether her business can survive another closure, and she’s not alone.

“If the way to get this under control is to close businesses, those businesses also need support so that they can reopen,” Switch Fitness co-owner Jamie McCalman said. “Eventually, we will come out of this and people will need to work again.”

McCalman’s Elk Grove fitness studio is moving back to virtual classes, but she says it’s not sustainable.

She’s calling on the state to step forward with some sort of financial help so these closures don’t close her studio for good.

“Just keep our head above water. We’re not even looking to make money at this point. We just want to be able to survive this,” she said.

McCalman said she did receive money through the Paycheck Protection Program but that’s been used.

“It’s concerning,” said Tina Thompson, the co-owner of Salon Oasis in South Natomas. “I’m not sure where the business is going to head. It’s nerve-wracking.”

Like many business owners, Tina and Carlon Thompson were worried once they heard the governor’s directive.

“We’ve been told three weeks or so. But that’s what we were told the last time and it ended up being two and a half months,” Carlon told FOX40.

Salon Oasis weathered other setbacks as well.

 “And we were a victim of the looting and the rioting as well,” Tina explained. “So, that on top of already our expenses, being out of work, kind of really put a damper on everything.”

That same type of financial concern is shared by many restaurant owners.

“We only have seven seats outside,” said Heyday Cafe owner Ben Carter.

“We’re at least lucky enough here that we have a big patio,” said Eric Anderson, the general manager of Zocalo at University Village.

The outdoor University Village mall worked with Zocalo to expand their patio dining.

“But still, it’s a big cut to the number of tables that we have,” Anderson said.

It’s a harsh reality that many businesses will face with this second closure.

“For us, we lost a handful of employees,” Carter told FOX40. “So, we used to be seven days a week. We’re five days a week right now.”

“If we have to go back to to-go, at least we have a playbook before,” Anderson said. “We went through this one time already.”

Anderson said they are ready for whatever comes their way with the new Folsom location due to open August 14.

“There’s responsibility on businesses but there’s individual responsibility on everyone to kind of stop the spread of this thing so we can get back to some semblance of normal,” he said.

Carlon said they were not really surprised that they would be required to close again after hearing the number of positive COVID-19 cases increasing despite them being diligent in following all the safety protocols.

“It hurts to do all of that and know that you’ve done all of that correctly, and then you’re seeing what’s going on with the virus spreading and it’s terrible. We feel … I hate it,” he said.

“We’re just gonna have to really pray and make sure we try to get through this,” Tina said.

As for how long these closures will last, no timeline has been released.

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