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Demoralized employers lament shutdown

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Posted at 4:18 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 19:24:29-05

SAN DIEGO — Demoralized business owners are venting their frustration and resentment over the new shutdown order meant to help stop the spread of the coronavirus

Monday was day one of restaurants doing takeout only, bars, wineries and personal care shuttered, and hotels limiting travelers.

This time, however, workers and employers alike feel like they're being hung out to dry.

"You're shutting us down, it's like, alright, here you go, good luck. That's what it feels like," said Cesar Vallin, who laid off 70 percent of the remaining staff at the Cloak & Petal restaurant in Little Italy. "The future is we're going to be here and we're going to get through this. I have to really question or ask myself if I want to stay in this business."

For the second time since March, Cloak & Petal has been relegated to takeout only due to the new shutdown order. Bars, wineries and personal care salons are totally shut down, while hotels may have to turn away away non-essential out-of-state travelers. All of this - without the help of forgivable federal small business loans and a $600 dollar a week boost in unemployment, key stimulus during the first shutdown in march.

The state says as of October, more than 118,000 San Diegans worked in food and drinking establishments.

At the Intercontinental San Diego hotel on the waterfront, General Manager Chuck Abbott said he had to let go 10 to 20 percent of his staff - now that outdoor dining is outlawed. He expects occupancy to drop into the single digits this week as some leisure travelers cancel due to the order.

"Every day, every week, every time something else comes out, we have to readjust," Abbott said. "It's just hard."

And they'll have to adjust to this reality for at least the next three weeks.

Under the order, retail is able to remain open at 20 percent.