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California’s Businesses Contending With Hardships, Difficulties and Uncertain Future

California’s businesses have been ravaged by the state government-ordered COVID-19 lockdowns

By Katy Grimes, October 4, 2021 11:33 am

The COVID pandemic lockdowns created hardships on many in California: Parents suddenly faced with running homeschooling pods, as well as working from home; outright job loss; employees suddenly isolated from coworkers; recent grads’ fruitless job searches resulted in moving back home with mom and dad; business owners compelled to shut down thriving restaurants, bars, shops, boutiques, specialty stores; even medical practices struggled with state-deemed “elective” medical services.

Employers tried to keep employees on, as the original state-ordered lockdown was only “two weeks to flatten the curve.”  But as two weeks turned into 18 months of off-again, on-again, off-again on-again partial openings, limited openings with restrictions, full re-openings/closures/re-openings, it became evident most employers would not be able to keep employees working indefinitely with the uncertainty.

Businesses of all sizes struggled. And today they are still struggling. From Sacramento to Southern CA, the Globe has met with business owners and employees from across the state, discussing the ongoing challenges, and we are told the same difficult and painful stories everywhere we go. Local Sacramento business owners are fighting horrific theft issues, vandalism, homeless-related crimes, as well as the loss of available workers. Some owners say they are contemplating moving out of state.

Recently the Globe traveled to a Southern California region. In nearly every business in every town we visited were “Now Hiring” and “Help Wanted” signs. Everywhere the business owners shared the same story: they can’t compete with former employees sitting at home collecting a stimulus check from the state.

California is paying former workers $18.75 per hour in the stimulus checks. Several owners said they can’t compete with that hourly wage for an entry level job.

Yet some businesses are offering up to $20.00 per hour because they are so desperate for workers.

Some larger businesses were forced to scale back so severely during the lockdown, just to stay afloat. One casino/hotel the Globe visited had to shut down the casino and hotel during the lockdown, and lay off most employees. When the partial re-opening with restrictions came, they had to gear up enough for a reopening involving distancing and plexiglass partitions everywhere.

This same casino/hotel is significantly short-staffed, employees said. The hotel is short-staffed housekeepers, restaurants did not re-open, there is no room service or room cleaning until checkout. Plexiglass is still prominent in the casino, and while it was busy, it wasn’t packed as it usually is.

Employees said they not only lost a lot of co-workers during the lockdowns, but many eventually found other forms of work in the ensuing months, including in construction. Employees say they are putting in many overtime hours, which makes a nice paycheck, but many are students and they say the extra hours are making attending school difficult.

Nearby towns had many closed storefronts. Former restaurants are now wine tasting shops, and few offered food service. Surviving restaurants had odd hours. Some no longer open for lunch and only serve dinner. Others open midday until dinner, then close down. They all said they are short-staffed. Employees at one restaurant said rather than opening for lunch and dinner, they were making more money just serving dinner, and with less staff.

The one common theme shared by employees and owners is they have no love-loss for those who didn’t go back to work when the opportunities presented. And they all said, California’s small, medium and large businesses have been ravaged by the state government-ordered COVID-19 lockdowns, particularly when other states did not completely close down. And, should the governor order another lockdown, many said they will shut their business and move out of state.

(The Globe spoke to business owners and employees on condition of anonymity) 

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3 thoughts on “California’s Businesses Contending With Hardships, Difficulties and Uncertain Future

  1. Well played, Newsom…. you FOOL….

    I’m still not convinced that he’s on the CCP payroll, and making a concerted effort to SHUT DOWN the state so the CCP can buy it up on the cheap…. it would certainly be interesting to have a holistic view into Newsom’s personal finances & follow his personal money trail….

  2. What an accomplishment by the Democratic Party! Way to go! You Democrats know how to get it done!

  3. Thank you, Katy Grimes, for your unflinching report on the state of the state 18+ months later.
    Too bad Governor Destructo couldn’t care less about this devastation. It has all been completely unnecessary but he was determined, wasn’t he? Cleaning out the state of hard-working, productive people and business; looks like that’s what he was shooting for! All while promoting every negative thing he possibly could, with gusto and enthusiasm. Homeless/vagrancy, loosing the criminals, paying criminals EDD money, corruption on steroids, unmanaged forests, unmanaged water, using his power to pull murdering campaign donor PG&E out of the fire, bending over for the commie teachers unions, and on and on and on. It’s heartbreaking and devastating. We’re all hurt by his disastrous time in office. I almost don’t want to write that because if Newsom looks at the Globe I think it would make him happy to know just how much he has harmed the people of California —– and with no end in sight. Now he’s going after the schoolchildren. And their parents. What a leader.

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