San Diego County can stay in the red tier, but business owners are still worried

Posted at 4:43 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 19:44:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)- Business owners across San Diego County were bracing for the possibility of shifting back into the most restrictive purple tier Tuesday.

The county barely avoided the move and can stay in the red tier for now.

“The up and down is very difficult to run any business without having any known information about what the future brings,” said Scott Lutwak, CEO of Fit Athletic Club, which has five locations in the county. “It’s been just a rollercoaster of open and close again.”

If the county had to move back into the purple tier, gyms and fitness centers would have to go back to outdoor operations only.

“It’s not easy to just move all the equipment that you had inside and move it into your parking lot and create a gym,” he said.

Under the red tier, they can operate inside at 10 percent capacity. Lutwak said that’s still just not enough.

“This number has been a very difficult number for our industry to digest because we simply cannot operate at 10 percent of our capacity.”

Restaurants were also set to move back outside if we hit the purple tier. Under the red, they can offer indoor dining at 25 percent capacity.

“There’s no clear path to 100 percent, there’s no plan to get us back open, and that’s really shocking to us,” said Angie Weber, co-owner of Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop.

She said her East Village business would not survive another shutdown.

Weber said California’s color-coded tier system makes things more difficult for already struggling business owners, as they’re constantly worrying about what could happen next.

“We need to fix this, we’re just going to be on this seesaw,” she said.

While San Diego County teeters between the red and purple tiers with no orange or yellow in sight yet, both
Lutwak and Weber hope county leaders and health officials can take back local control.

“If we use the governor’s formula, our businesses are basically never going to be able to reopen,” said Lutwak.