Apple Store, Other Retailers Return to State Street

The Apple Store, 928 State St., reopened over the weekend.

As a possible harbinger of things to come, the very popular Apple Store, 928 State St., reopened over the Sept. 11 weekend after being temporarily closed for several months. 

One of the most crowded retail outlets prior to the pandemic shutdown, the Apple shop still has restrictions on it as to how many patrons can be in the store at one time, face mask requirements and social distancing rules. 

It’s not the only State Street store to reopen after a hiatus, including the Brandy Melville boutique at the corner of State and Carillo Boulevard. That shop usually has a line of female patrons wrapped around the corner to its entrance. 

Another boutique, Evangelina, not only opened at 809 State St., but also has a second shop inside Paseo Nuevo mall. 

Meanwhile, city and civic leaders are toying with the idea of bringing more live entertainment to State Street in the form of musicians, mimes and other performers. 

However, for at least until the end of the month, restaurant dining, religious services, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters and museums are hoping to return to whatever might be considered a new “normal.” 

Hair salons and barbershops can open statewide, including for indoor services if they adhere to requirements for social distancing and employees wear masks and follow other health-related mandates. All retail stores and shopping malls also are permitted to open, with a maximum of 25 percent capacity. 

The status of other businesses is not affected by the new Covid-19 cases metrics, county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso has said. 

“It will be the same, but also there will be more latitude. Currently, we do not have hair salons and barber shops open. Now, those places can reopen with modifications,” Do-Reynoso said. 

When a county official was asked to estimate the amount of tax revenue lost to the pandemic-related business closures, she basically said she had no idea. Bed tax, or total occupancy tax, revenue has only reached a fraction of what it was last year. 

On the bright side, Santa Barbara County’s tax revenue from cannabis operations took a big jump in the fourth quarter of the 2019-20 fiscal year, totaling more than twice as much as revenues from the fourth quarter last fiscal year. 

Cannabis taxes from the just-ended fourth quarter, from April 1 to June 30, 2020, were only 12 percent less than the total cannabis taxes collected for all four quarters of the 2018-19 fiscal year, according to a county report. 

Fourth quarter taxes totaling $5.5 million were collected from 50 of 118 registered operators, the report said. 

The report attributes the sharp increase in tax revenue, in part and indirectly, to the pandemic. The report says, the pandemic has limited the county’s ability to investigate illegal cannabis operations.

Posted Sept. 13, 2020.

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