'I'm in shock': Sonoma Co. businesses forced to close, again, under Newsom's new order

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
'I'm in shock': Sonoma Co. businesses forced to close, again, under Newsom's new order
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Sonoma County businesses are shocked and confused by Governor Newsom's new orders that are forcing most of them, many of which had just reopened, to close back down.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- When word of Governor Newsom's renewed and additional closures spread, almost like a virus through the lunchtime crowd and businesses along 4th Street in Santa Rosa, it landed like a harder-than-expected punch to the gut.

"We just heard it. I'm in shock," said Bridget Alvarez.

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She finally reopened her Revive Hair Collective just five weeks ago, with plenty of losses to make up. Now, with hair salons and barber shops ordered to close, she faces the prospect of falling further behind.

"I don't like the way it has been handled. And without warning. What are we supposed to do, now? Lock up in the middle of the day?"

4th Street is almost an extension of the nearby Santa Rosa Plaza Mall, where business owners learned today that they, too, will again find themselves behind locked doors. This mall reopened in late June. Now, it will close until at least August 2.

"People were shopping. It was real slow, but at least we could make some kind of money," said Sazal Saha, who owns two businesses inside.

RELATED: What Gov. Newsom's announcement means for every Bay Area county

He admits that the mall is not a particularly safe place in a pandemic. Much as he doesn't like being close down, he does see the possible safety benefits.

"People come. People touch everything. It is hard for us to wipe down all the time," he said.

And, it is just plain hard for any business owner caught in this see-saw of emotions to make a plan.

"We had these tables liked up to the side in here," said Amos Flint. He and his business partners closed their Perch and Plow Restaurant last March. "Well it is a perpetual state of what is going to happen next," he told us.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Here's what's open, closed in the San Francisco Bay Area

They had hoped to begin serving indoors, but now that will not happen for at least three weeks. The city of Santa Rosa, meantime, has granted them a permit for tables on the sidewalk, two stories below.

"What is the lesson, here?" we asked Brian Tolbert, the restaurant's general manager.

"You have to be nimble. Make decisions on the fly and if you can't you will not survive."

If that sounds like a modern day rehash of Charles Darwin, it is beginning to feel appropriate in this pandemic.

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