Bay Area businesses in purple tier counties are bracing for another pandemic hurdle: the COVID-19 curfew that takes effect Saturday night.
Under the curfew, non-essential businesses in the most restrictive purple tier have to close their doors at 10 p.m. As of Friday, six Bay Area counties — Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma — were in that tier.
“If we have to close early because people have to get home by 10, that means I have to close an hour earlier, that means my employees don’t get paid an extra hour, we lose revenue, bills don’t get paid because we count on that money on a Friday and Saturday night,” Corey Katz, owner of Bar Cava in Martinez, said. “Those are our busiest nights.”
Down the street at Del Cielo Brewery, owner Luis Castro said adapting to all the pandemic restrictions has been a roller-coaster, but he thinks the temporary curfew won’t change his bottom line too much.
“We normally close at 10 anyway. Our last call is at 9:30, so by 10 we should be almost done,” he said.
Customers said they’ll likely start coming out to eat a little earlier.
“We’ve got to cut this virus. We got to take charge of it,” customer George Carathimas said. “That’s one way to do it. Just close down early.”
But not everyone agrees on the need for a curfew.
“To me, the virus doesn’t have a time schedule,” customer Larry Wigley said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re out at 10 o’clock or 2. If you’re going to get it, you’re going to get it.”
Contra Costa County officials said, just like the rest of the health order, they’ll be ready to enforce the curfew with warnings and fines, if needed.
“We understand that a lot of businesses are struggling,” Scott Alonso with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said. “The pandemic has been raging locally for many months now and folks are hurting. We understand that. But at the same time, we have to protect the public’s health.”
Katz said he’ll follow the rules, but with sales already down by 50%, he’s not sure how much more he can withstand.
“This is our life savings, my mom and myself, this is our life savings,” he said. “We have nothing after this.”