California Small Businesses Endure the Second Wave of Closures
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Boye Adenihum was born in Nigeria, arriving in the United States in the 1980s because his father was a general in the Nigerian Army. His parents were concerned about his safety, so they decided to send him to America for a better life.
Adenihum has always had a love for sports, and he later attended California State San Bernardino obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business with a dream to become a business owner.
In November 2019, Adenihun opened a sports bar near his alumni school, Cal State San Bernardino called The Study Bar and Grill, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he has endured many challenges.
He explained the barriers in three phases: the closure of Cal State San Bernardino (his targeted customers), is the cancellation of all sports, and the closure of the state’s economy in March.
“The actual closure, the bar, was the third strike,”Adenihum told Scriberr News.
“For a brand new business, especially in this industry, trying to make it, is like 90 percent chances of failure,” he said.
“I felt like I was done, but three strikes and I’m still here. God is great.”
The Study Bar and Grill was permitted to reopen in June, as many other businesses began to resume in California.
The Fifth Lounge Bar and Grill in Fontana is another bar facing similar barriers in maintaining a profitable business.
“When we got the green light to open a few weeks back … our patrons and myself were excited about the opening, which only lasted a few days,” co-owner of the Fifth Lounge, Conrad Perez, told Scriberr News.
“With a decline of customers every day, staying compliant is the easy part, keeping a consistent clientele will be challenging,” he said.
Perez took advantage of the closure by remodeling the interior of the bar, something they would not be able to do if the bar was open.
The Study, Fifth Lounge, and many other small businesses have backtracked business due to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement of the complete closure of all bars and nightclubs on July 1.
As California continued to reopen in May and June, there has been a hard spike of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases with a 49.1% increase of cases as of July 2 within the previous 14 days.
Operations such as restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, barborshops, museums, and card-rooms must close all indoor sectors of business.
The regulations made on July 1 only applied to 19 counties throughout the state.
The Study remains open because of their small outdoor seating and dine-in meals.
“Dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs that provide sit-down meals should follow the dine-in restaurant guidance (PDF) and should continue to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible,” according to the California Department of Public Health.
Some of the guidelines that dine-in restaurants or bars must advise are: social distancing, face-covering for workers, frequent sanitizing, and training employees on COVID-19 prevention.
The Study has been following these regulations and includes all disposable serving items.
“We wanted to keep things clean to where we didn’t have a bunch of dishes, so all our food comes in baskets with wax paper, and they’re all disposable, which worked out great for us,” Adenihum said.
Both bar owners understand the decision made by the governor to close all bars and indoor business operations, even though it hasn’t been easy on them.
“For the moment, I think he’s making all the right decisions to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” Perez said.
“Our city has given us the opportunity to open outdoor dining. This will keep paying the bills. But of course, any restriction that limits clientele will impact us and all businesses alike,” he added.
Adenihum believes the state reopened too quickly.
“I do feel as much as I wanted to come back and reopen. I feel like as a state, [we] went through the phases a little too quickly,” Adenihum said.
“Typical human nature we’ve been locked up for so long, and of course, they’re gonna run out there and try to enjoy life that we were used to and they should have expected that,” he said.
Both bars are in the county of San Bernardino, which experienced a 63.8% increase in COVID-19 cases as of July 8.
As of July 22, California has a total of 413,576 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 7,870 deaths.
The governor continues to include additional counties to close indoor operations for some businesses.