On Tuesday, many Northern and Southern California Counties entered another night of curfews due to continued unrest caused by the George Floyd protests and riots.
Another night of curfews across the Golden State
Los Angeles County, Contra Costa County, and San Mateo County issued county-wide curfews. Some cities imposed a wider array of times, such as Beverly Hills, Burbank, and Culver City, who issued curfew start times as early as 1 PM. Cities in the counties of Orange, San Bernadino, and Riverside such as Anaheim and Fontana continued with individual city curfews as well in Southern California. Meanwhile, Alameda County cities such as Oakland and Fremont also continued curfews following a county-wide curfew the previous night.
While groups such as the ACLU have been trying to fight the end of such curfews, counties and cities still have total authority over the decisions as of Tuesday night.
With many businesses on the brink of closing after the coronavirus lockdowns and needing to reopen as soon as possible, the protests and riots have only exacerbated finances. While normal businesses are hurt, especially those affected by looting, most still have the average 9 to 6 business structure. For restaurants, generally open from noon to late at night with many still relying on take-out only options, being unable to serve and deliver food past 6 PM has had a drastic effect on business.
Added restaurant strife statewide
“We had just made it,” explained Celina Cortez, whose family has owned a small Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles since the late 1960’s. “We survived the [Great] Recession and every time the economy tanked before. But being hit twice in a row where we can’t even have customers order food to go has been devastating.”
“We somehow received a loan a few days before the protests got bad, and if we had waited we wouldn’t have gotten that.”
“We do have some small business protections, but we don’t know how long that will last. Until these curfews are over we’re losing a lot of money. We are primarily a lunch and dinner restaurant, with 70% of our business coming after 6.”
“It’s not good.”
Restaurant workers have also noticed the stress.
“In March I was laid off, in April I was brought on a few hours a day to help prepare food, and earlier this month I got even more hours to help prepare the restaurant for reopening once the County and city allowed it,” said Nakanti Williams, a waitress at a small soul food restaurant in Oakland. “Well, it’s June. After I came back from the protests on Sunday night I checked my phone to see that I was laid-off again due to businesses having to close early.”
“I’m pretty sure the EDD knows me by name at this point because of how many times I’ve had to change my unemployment figures.”
And in some cases the damage is irreversible.
Permanent restaurant closures because of the protests
“My boss called me earlier today to tell me that her cafe has to close,” said Adam Wright-Jung, a food prepper in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. “She’s not even waiting. Her lease is up at the end of the month and she just ended it now almost a month in advance.”
“Reopening last week was the last legs apparently, and riots took out those legs. Dinner service was everything.”
“I can’t believe it. I’m so conflicted. I agree with the protesters and was even out with them on a few marches. I want change. But all of that played a hand in me losing my job. I still don’t know how to feel.”
Nationwide, chain restaurants have lost around 600 locations since the start of coronavirus lockdowns, with Los Angeles losing numerous independent restaurants in May alone due to the downturn. While figures for the closures caused or accelerated by the George Floyd protests are not yet available, those the California Globe interviewed have hinted at a larger than expected figure.
“It’s more than people think,” added Wright-Jung. “Just from my Twitter feed with friends here, my cafe wasn’t the only one to close for good because of this. But no one is saying anything because everyone is rightly focused on the protests.”
“And if this curfew goes until the weekend, it’s only going to hurt all the more.”
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