'Nail in the coffin': Regional stay-at-home order puts South Bay businesses on edge

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As residents in Santa Clara County brace for the early implementation of the Bay Area stay-at-home order Sunday evening, business owners are speeding up their plans to pivot.

"We're going to be a skeleton crew for a while just to get by," says Tin Le, owner of SP2 Communal Bar and Restaurant in San Jose, where sales are 80% compared to what they'd normally be this time of year.

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Despite the struggle, Le plans to adapt once again to offer craft cocktails for takeout.

"We don't know how much time we have to operate, we don't know how much revenue is going to be brought in, (and) so our runway is pretty limited," said Le.

In Campbell, Sushi Confidential spent $15,000 building out an outdoor dining patio, which will need to be closed once the stay-at-home order takes effect.

"We were hoping get a couple more weeks out of this with all the projections," said Sushi Confidential owner Randy Musterer.

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Musterer says he'll have to lay off the majority of his staff, which is something he wanted to avoid during the holiday season. But to keep some folks on the payroll, he'll soon launch a new happy hour menu as part of a ramped-up takeout program.

He has also created a sushi-making kit to encourage customers to try something different.

"Whether this lasts three weeks or three months, this could be the nail in the coffin for a lot of restaurants," added Musterer.

The outdoor dining tent at Flights Restaurant in Los Gatos is being disassembled this weekend, but will soon be replaced with a winter wonderland retail experience, which will include access to basic groceries, meal kits, and even drive-by visits with Santa.

"One day you're feeling excited because you have a new idea and you're going to try to do something, and then the next day you feel empty and broken and broke," said Flights owner Alex Hult. "I'm losing hope for what's going to happen if we don't get help."

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Many East Bay businesses are stunned to hear the new coronavirus shutdown is happening so quickly.



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