Local Businesses Reduce Staff As Sales Fall Over Growing Coronavirus Concerns

BURBANK (CBSLA) — While social distancing has proven effective in the fight against the spread of coronavirus, area businesses are feeling the effects as more people remain indoors and avoid public places.

Because of that, business owner Ramsey Krull has had to pick up waiting tables and bar tending at The New Deal Restaurant in Burbank.

“It’s a little rough,” he said. “We had to cut some staff this week, which we’re really bummed about. We don’t like to do that.”

Krull said he had to reduce his staff because the restaurant is not seeing its usual crowds as more and more people continue to avoid public places. And, Krull said, he and his remaining staff are doing everything they can to keep themselves and their customers safe — including increasing sanitation efforts and keeping the front door open so people won’t have to touch the door handle.

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He said he’s trying to do everything he can to survive economically.

“We have to be prepared to have some overhead to keep our doors open if we have to shut down for a little bit, and that’s kind of scary as a small business owner,” Krull said. “Me and my family, on this, don’t have tons of financial backing.”

The Small Business Administration said it was ready to provide low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. President Donald Trump recently called on congress for an additional $50 billion for the loan program.

That news was comforting to Irene Doan, the owner of Oasis Nail Spa in Burbank.

“Fridays are one of our busiest days and right now, it should’ve been really busy but it’s not,” she said looking around an empty salon. “We took a drop of 30-40% down in service sales.”

Doan said she has also had to downsize her staff because customers are not getting their nails done. But, just like Krull, said she has taken extra precautions to protect customers and her staff.

“We have a four-step cleaning process, we also protect our bowls, all of our staff wear gloves while doing services and they also wear masks,” she said. “Come on out, support your local businesses.”

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But in Costa Mesa, restaurants and bars on Friday night were elbow-to-elbow with diners.

“I think it’s something that happens so many years, everybody just freaks out for really no reason, and a couple months will go by and nobody will be talking about this again,” Jeremy Cruz, a diner said.

Cruz and his family bought their groceries and supplies earlier this week, but they didn’t hesitate to go out to their favorite sushi restaurant — and neither did a number of other people.

“And I don’t think we have anything to worry about,” Lee Caneli, a diner said. “We’re going to put some hand sanitizer on and go on with daily life.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that everyone try to distance themselves from others and refrain from congregating in crowded spaces.