ANALYSIS: More Closures Ordered; Expect More to Come

A sign of the times.

In another back-and-forth move, Gov. Gavin Newsom on July 13 again called for closure of many businesses statewide – including those deemed nonessential in Santa Barbara County – in response to increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

The move will surely hasten the permanent closure of many more malls, bars, indoor fitness centers and restaurants, hair and nail salons and others even though some just opened or re-opened in key commercial corridors such as State Street, which just witnessed shuttering of more retail shops. 

Up to one-half of the area’s restaurant, bars, wineries and breweries are not expected to make through another shutdown. 

In the past month alone, Sur La Table, a kitchen supply store at 821 State St., announced it is closing, joining the Subway sandwich shop at 1021 State St., and the Mike & Misa Gallery, 619 State St., which just opened late last year. 

While retail has been steadily declining since before the last recession, Santa Barbara’s once booming hospitality industry has taken another hit this year after it was mostly shut down in March, re-opened with restrictions last month and now closed again. 

Many restaurants in the State Street corridor adapted after vehicular traffic was halted on 10 blocks and eateries and breweries were allowed to offer dining and drinking outdoors. 

In another back-and-forth move, Gov. Gavin Newsom on July 13 again called for closure of many businesses statewide – including those deemed nonessential in Santa Barbara County – in response to increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

The move will surely hasten the permanent closure of many more malls, bars, indoor fitness centers, hair and nail salons and others even though some just opened or re-opened in key commercial corridors such as State Street, which just witnessed shuttering of more retail shops. 

Up to one-half of the area’s restaurant, bars, wineries and breweries are not expected to make through another shutdown. 

In the past month alone, Sur La Table, a kitchen supply store at 819 State St., announced it is closing, joining the Subway sandwich shop at 1021 State St., and the Mike & Misa Gallery, 619 State St., which just opened late last year. 

While retail has been steadily declining since before the last recession, Santa Barbara’s once booming hospitality industry has taken another hit this year after it was mostly shut down in March, re-opened with restrictions last month and now closed again. 

Many restaurants in the State Street corridor adapted after vehicular traffic was halted on 10 blocks and eateries and breweries were allowed to offer dining and drinking outdoors. 

Ironically, the Santa Barbara City Council was expected to discuss whether to continue with the al fresco approach next month, which could now be a moot point.

As if the retail and hospitality situation was enough for the sagging economy, commercial real estate also is taking another hard hit, even though a small businesses on State Street just opened their doors this month. Their efforts now will be uphill struggle.

Posted July 13, 2020.

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