UPDATE: Even with Go-Ahead to Re-Open, Some Businesses Still Not Ready

More bars, restaurants, wineries, fitness facilities, museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, campgrounds, hotels and family entertainment centers could have started reopening this week because of new state guidance announced June 5. 

However, not all those businesses were ready to get going again. 

To date, the largest athletic gyms in the Santa Barbara area have yet to re-open, while some of the smaller “workout gyms” are gone. The parent companies of Gold’s Gym and 24-Hour Fitness have declared bankruptcy, Swell Athletic Clubs in Santa Barbara and Goleta remained close this week.

Gold’s gym in downtown Santa Barbara, on upper State Street and in Goleta re-opened June 16.

According to the 24-Hour Fitness website, the club plans to re-open June 22 even though earlier this year it cuts its hours from 4 a.m. to midnight. Swell in Santa Barbara plans to re-open July 1 while its Cathedral Oaks venue is set for June 22.

Meanwhile, the Santa Barbara YMCA plans to re-open as soon as next week when county health officials give the OK. And, the Goleta Valley Athletic Club re-opened June 12.

Most businesses on the always popular Stearn’s Wharf have reopened. 

And, Paseo Nuevo officials said June 10 more shops and eateries have re-opened, most with 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours. However, that doesn’t include Nordstrom, which is closing for good and being considered to become a hotel of some type of housing.. 

County health officials said such facilities still must use self-distancing and take other measures to curb virus spreading. 

While some more businesses re-open along State Street, several more that have been closed for three months apparently have given up the ghost. 

The 47-year-old Enterprise Fish Co., 225 State St., and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 811A State St., are on the gone-for-good list, along the little Japanese product knick-knack shop Mini So, 733 State St., which just opened a couple years ago. 

Another downtown restaurant casualty is the Middle Child, 18 E. State St. On perhaps the brighter side, Viva Oliva olive oil and vinegar tasting room plans to open at some point in the 927 State St. in a space most recently used by an art gallery. Many Santa Barbara wine tasting rooms were still closed this week. 

Also, after several years of waiting, a 7-Eleven convenience store opened this week near the corner or Ortega and State streets in half of a former restaurant building. The other half remains vacant.

Meanwhile nearby, architect Kevin Moore has applied to merge 710 and 718 State St., into a 36,00-square-foot, mixed-use commercial space with 36 rental units. 

On the other side of the South Coast, the city of Goleta is taking a cue from Santa Barbara by allowing its Old Town area eateries to spill their seating out onto the street in front of them. 

Downtown Santa Barbara sports a growing number of “parklets,” which are lightly fenced-in areas spilling onto streets and side streets to accommodate more al fresco dining. 

The state is not encouraging counties to reopen all businesses and is simply providing guidance for them to do so. Counties should expand their reopening plans only if local health official say they can do so safely, the state said. 

Most economists expect a full economic recovery could take two years or more, with the unemployment rate likely still 10 percent or higher at the end of this year. With fewer Americans traveling, eating out or shopping at anywhere near their previous levels, consumer spending — the primary driver of the U.S. economy — could keep economic activity very weak for many months, economists said. 

Meanwhile, Santa Barbara allowed businesses to delay paying their rent or not at all for the time being. But that has angered property managers who ultimately have to pay the mortgages to some of the 80 building owners or banks that are involved. 

Posted June 12, 2020. 

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