The ongoing stay-at-home order by the state has the entire community on lockdown except for a small list of “essential services.”
While restaurant dining rooms and bars have been ordered to close, food providers including grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores and takeout and delivery restaurants are exempt.
Other businesses on this list of essential services include:
- Gas stations
- Laundromats/Laundry Services
- Essential State & Local Government functions
The businesses that will be the most dramatically impacted by a lengthly closure will likely be our small, local food-service businesses and their employees. Advocates are encouraging diners to do their part to keep these businesses afloat by increasing their takeout frequency.
While not all food service are equipped to pivot to a delivery model, a handful of local business are doing their best to stay open and keep their employees earning a paycheck.
But even businesses that are more equipped to pivot to delivery models are being hit hard. “We’re doing about 25-30% of what we normally do,” noted Best Coast Burritos Proprietor Alvin Shen whose family was forced to lay off a quarter his Emeryville staff and about half of their Oakland staff.
“Eating out is a luxury when you don’t have a paycheck coming in,” said Shen noting the situation was still very dynamic and that he may need to make additional adjustments or cuts. “I think we’re going to have a better idea this week depending on how things go.”
“We are on the brink of extinction,”
The NY Times cites data that up to 75% of these shuttered independent restaurants may not survive an extended closure. “We are on the brink of extinction,” warned a coalition of New York restaurant groups dubbed ROAR (Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants) in a change.org petition.
The National Restaurant Association has asked the federal government for a $145 billion recovery fund to help them when this pandemic has eventually passed.
Prizefighter, which immediately closed after the order, initiated a GoFundMe campaign targeting $20K to aid their laid off employees. Minnie Bell’s and the Wolfhound Bar have started a similar campaign targeting aid to benefit employees.
The State has temporarily loosened its restrictions on alcohol delivery and to go order and Novel Brewing Co. and Trader Vic’s are among local businesses to begin offering this. The delivery exemption only applies to locations that also offer food and does not apply to bars like Prizefighter.
✨ Curbside Pickup Starting Tomorrow ✨
Pre-order cans, Crowlers, and bottles from our website (https://t.co/ZNAA0lDHFo) and select a time to come grab your order. At this time we will not service walk up orders, cash orders, or growler fills. pic.twitter.com/g3GLLdPVzf
— Novel Brewing Co. (@novelbrewing) March 20, 2020
Mai Tais and Grogs To Go! We are Mixing up Navy Grog, Mai Tais, Bahia and Trader Vic’s Grog. With alcohol just add ice and shake or without and add your own. Available now with your food order. #maitaination #tradervicsemeryville #maitai pic.twitter.com/jCn7DdCL5C
— Trader Vics (@TraderVicsBay) March 21, 2020
Delivery services Doordash and Caviar both announced that they are offering free delivery with no commissions and business owners have indicated a preference to use these services. You can also purchase gift cards as a pledge of support to use when they do reopen.
Please note that the status of these businesses is very dynamic and we will be continuously updating as we learn of changes through email and social media. If you notice an inaccuracy or update, please leave a comment or email us at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, The City is working on some relief efforts and have compiled a comprehensive list of resources to help small businesses in the city cope with what could be a catastrophic time for them.
They have also passed an urgency ordinance preventing commercial evictions of business for COVID-19 related hardships.