Governor Lifts Lockdown; Businesses Hoping to Get Back to Work, Despite Bad Weather

Gov. Gavin Newsom

After a rough end to 2020 and rougher start to 2021, it appears California is loosening up the restrictions on many businesses, including restaurants and hair salons. 

The governor lifted stay-at-home orders Jan. 25, which many businesses and the South Coast Chamber of Commerce have been calling for almost two months. Earlier this month, several Santa Barbara restaurants, including Joe’s Café on State Street and Tre Lune on Coast Village Road held public protests to the orders. 

More businesses closed during the lockdown, including the popular downtown Jeannine’s Restaurant and Bakery on Figueroa Street as well as the Beachside Café in Goleta. Jeannine’s has other locations that remain open in the area. 

Many residents received a $600 stimulus boost in some form this month. However, another $1,400 boost from the federal government may take a while to come. 

On the brighter side, Southwest Airlines will begin operating out the Santa Barbara Airport by April. 

While the lockdown and cold, wet weather would have limited the use of the many parklets built on and around State Street and Coast Village Road, the lifting of the lockdown order will bring more diners to them when the sun shines and the wind is light. 

Meanwhile, retail stores are deciding how to handle the situation. The Apple store on State Street remains closed for now.

February and especially March are months that could bring Santa Barbara significant rainfall and even severe flooding on State, De la Vina and Chapala streets downtown. Debris flows are also likely in Montecito if heavy rains fall as they did three years ago. Steel nets are in place to mitigate that problem, but have not been tested. 

After a major wildfire made the foothills above Montecito into a moonscape, hard rains drove debris and huge boulders downhill, destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and killed two dozen people. 

The incident closed Highway 101 for weeks and crippled most of the county’s economy.

Posted Jan. 25, 2021.

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