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'The frustration is indescribable' | Stockton businesses trying to stay open amid 2nd round of pandemic shutdowns

"They're scared and they're concerned. The ones that made adjustments for the first closure are maintaining, but there are those that couldn't open."

STOCKTON, Calif. — For 30 years, Bobby Page has booked customer after customer for a trim or an all out hair cut. But he's never dealt with anything close to the coronavirus-forced business closures.

As owner of the Village Barber Shop in North Stockton's Lincoln Center, his sign says it all: "Closed until further notice."

"The frustration is indescribable," says Page.

For five weeks, Page returned with his three other barbers doing all they could to keep things safe.

"We did temperatures. We sanitized our chairs. Wore the masks," Page said. "We, you know, we did everything possible, including having a company come in once a week and disinfect the shop."

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that the 30 counties on the state's watch list — including Sacramento, Placer, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Yolo and Yuba counties — will have to completely close fitness centers, places of worship, personal care services, and malls again. The closures are indefinite.

The Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce represents just under 1,000 San Joaquin County businesses. While CEO Doug Wilhoit hasn't heard businesses closing for good, he has heard the frustrations loud and clear.

"They're scared and they're concerned," Wilhoit said. "The ones that made adjustments for the first closure are maintaining, but there are those that couldn't open."

But it's not all doom and gloom for Stockton businesses. Restaurants like Thai Me Up on the Miracle Mile on Pacific Avenue are still doing pretty well considering everything.

Ryan Alegre, manager of the Thai food restaurant, said it has maintained about 70% to 80% of its pre-pandemic business. With dining not allowed inside, it chose to have no outside dining either.

Normally, their takeout makes up a third of their business. Now, curbside delivery is keeping them afloat.

"It surprised me, too. When we first initially closed I was expecting us to close down operations, not even do the take out thing," Alegre said. "But, you know, the locals in the community have really helped us out tremendously."

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Kurt Rivera.



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