100 days of Bay Area's shelter-in-place order weighs heavily on Marin County businesses

Wayne Freedman Image
ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Thursday, June 25, 2020
100 days of COVID-19 restrictions weigh heavily across Bay Area businesses
EMBED <>More Videos

It's been 100 days since the Bay Area enacted the shelter-in-place order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Business owners in Fairfax reflect on how the COVID-19 restrictions have taken a toll on their stores and sanity.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Time moves slowly for anyone counting days, especially when you own a neighborhood bar and haven't filled stools, or mixed a drink, or run the tap, or rung a sale in 100 days. That's a milestone, now.

"We have never been through anything like this," said Ed Bacci. Bacci is only the third owner of Nave's Bar in Fairfax since prohibition.

He and his wife, Pattie closed to observe sheltering in place just before St. Patrick's Day. Optimists keep those green decorations up. They certainly qualify.

RELATED: Everything to know about San Francisco Bay Area's shelter-in-place order

"He never expected it to be this long," Pattie said. "That's why he left them up. He never expected it to be this long."

100 days. In an era of COVID-19 and all the lockdown measures, it feels like an eternity, especially in a small town.

"I think at one time the other shoe will drop and it is not going to be pretty," said Kelly London, who owns the Fairfax Coffee Roastery. He's yet another member of what we could call the 80% club. That is how far profits have fallen in the past 100 days for him and other business owners.

REOPENING CA: What's opening and when in the Bay Area

"How many people would you have here?" we asked Tony Semehi in his empty Barefoot Café at lunchtime.

"50 people."

Semehi is working 18 hours a day just to keep the doors open. He's running out of time.

"Nobody coming in," Semehi said. "My business is gone. I don't know when they come back."

RELATED: Here's what it will take to reopen the Bay Area

When businesses do close or fail in a small town, it can have the same effect as a chain of falling dominoes. The Fairfax Theater has not shown a film in months. Two other bars have closed, as has at least one small shop.

Yet, inside Marin County's only surviving five and dime, Polly Knox clings to hope, one customer at a time.

"I sell a lot of a little and lately less than a lot of little, but I'm hanging in there," Knox said.

LIFE AFTER COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms, schools, sports will look like when they reopen

Do we have any other choice in Fairfax or anywhere else, large or small?

"He cleans. He paints. Anything to keep busy," said Pattie Bacci as she watched Ed, who still spends regular time in his empty bar. "He's a pain in the butt with nothing to do every day. Imagine him retired? We would be divorced!"

100 days. A long road. And still no sense of where it will take us, or when.

"This store has continued 80 years," concluded Polly Knox. "We survived World War II, a depression, a recession, and we will make it through a pandemic."

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS: