Business Leaders Discuss Dealing with Shutdowns

An official with a Goleta-based IT equipment company said Sept. 18 that 95 percent of her company’s 1,700-msmber workforce has been working remotely since early spring this year. 

Curvature’s Sachi Thompson spoke as part of a Business Leaders Webinar by the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce.  She said April and May were her company’s worst months, but “things are getting better.” 

Thompson said only 14 COVID-19 cases have been found in all of Curvature’s employees globally. The company has 1 million square feet of working space in Goleta alone, which is largely being unused. 

Revenue is down about 20 percent, Thompson said. Largely because China is Curvature’s biggest market, total business is down about 25 percent, Thompson said. The company has cut 5 percent of its workforce. 

Another panelist, Matt Sutton, of the California Restaurant Association, said his group is concerned about possible legal action that might occur after a patron is denied service for not complying with facial mask and social distancing rules. 
He said he is encouraged by pending state legislation aimed at helping small businesses, including restaurants. 

“We are not happy with the current system,” which only allows restaurants to serve 25 percent of their capacity, Sutton said. 

He said his group plans to sit down with Gov. Gavin Newsom to discuss proposal to aid the hospitality industry. 

Another panelist, John Longbrake from UCSB, said no visitors are allowed on campus and everyone is urged to stay home while the university loses millions. 

The lack of visiting parents and students’ friends is a huge blow to the many restaurants and other businesses in Isla Vista and surrounding area. 

A fourth panelist, Nick Clay from the county Public Health Department, provided updates on the decreasing number of coronavirus cases in the area. If the reported cases keep deceasing, it is possible more businesses can re-open by next month. 

Posted Sept. 19, 2020.

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