As Santa Cruz County braces for more restrictions, some businesses pivot to outdoor operations

Amanda del Castillo Image
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
As Santa Cruz County braces for more restrictions, some businesses pivot to outdoor operations
On Monday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom confirmed, "We now have 37 counties- we've just included Santa Cruz on the monitoring list."

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- On Monday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom confirmed, "We now have 37 counties- we've just included Santa Cruz on the monitoring list."

Landing on that list means a number of indoor businesses will have to close at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday. Or, business owners must come up with a way to shift their operations outdoors.

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Santa Cruz County had been flagged late last week. Without enough improvement, the county found itself on the state's coronavirus monitoring list over the weekend.

According to the county, it logged around 130 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. The data exceeded the state's threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 people.

"Things are good, but they're not great," Santa Cruz County Communications Manager, Jason Hoppin told ABC7 News. "We have good compliance with face coverings, but we're going to have to implement some additional closures to keep those numbers down even further."

The orders go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 28. They include the closure of indoor services and modifications for:

  • Indoor personal care services, like hair and nail salons, barber shops and more
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Shopping malls
  • Places of worship
  • Non-essential offices

Officials with the City of Santa Cruz said all is not lost, as business owners can leverage outdoor space.

"Just looking at our physical landscape and the amount of space that we have for these businesses to now spill out onto the sidewalks into their private parking areas," Rebecca Unitt, business liaison for the City of Santa Cruz's Economic Development Department said. "Utilizing some of our public spaces in a different way."

Unitt explained the city is prepared to adapt its programs, and provide business owners the support they need.

"We know that the governor and the state have created different guidelines for businesses to adapt to these different requirements," she added. "So, we are really looking at our Outdoor Expansion Program, and being able to include more industries into that program. To be able to create new, creative ideas for businesses to really take advantage of being able to remain open in some capacity, and adapting to all this changing news."

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According to Unitt, "I think this is a new setback, and it's something that we've been worried about and planning for. We're just ready to be there to be that support system and create new solutions that can help them sustain through this."

Santa Cruz Power Fitness isn't skipping a beat.

"We had a hunch that it was going to be coming down the pipeline," co-owner, Camile Periat told ABC7 News. "So we've already started to pivot, building out a full outdoor training facility in our back parking lot."

Periat said, when complete, clients should have about 4,000-square-feet of outdoor space to work with.

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"We have canopies coming for shade in the cardio section. We have full squat racks been installed this evening," she explained. "We've ordered new equipment for the outside. We're going to have a pretty full functioning gym outdoors."

Periat explained the gym supports clients from all around.

"We do already have quite a bit of out-of-towners that have membership to our destination gym," she said. "So, we normally see quite a bit of out of towners here. But during the past 45 days that we've been open and other surrounding counties have been closed, we have seen an increase that average."

Hoppin, with the county shared, "We hope these closures will be as short as possible, but we will have to see how the numbers play out going forward."

According to a release by the county, "Retail and existing outdoor restaurant operations are unaffected by the orders and may continue operating under state guidelines for their respective sectors. Additionally, hair salons and personal services (including skin care, cosmetology, nail services, and massage therapy but not electrology, tattooing and piercing services) may continue operations outdoors under state guidelines."

It continued, "Any removal from the list would require further state action."

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