Daniel Defoe wrote his “A Journal of the Plague Year” about the 1660’s in London and Gabriel Garcia Marquez chronicled, “Love in the Time of Cholera” which is set in Columbia in the 1890s. All of which points to the fact that, eventually, this too shall pass, although as far as we know, no one has yet published the “Coronavirus Joke Book.”
Life goes on, even amidst a pandemic, but obviously “business as usual” is going to be impacted. This article will ask a few local merchants how they plan to get by in these challenging times. It is in no way a comprehensive list. We invite other merchants to share with us how they are coping—or if they are coping.
Some businesses, such as the services such as Doordash or Grubhub may even find ways to prosper in an environment where people are discouraged from meeting in larger groups, or in some cases even getting out at all.
Alex MacLachlan, president of the Downtown Business Association, told The Times-Advocate, “Anything I’ve heard has been anecdotal since the voluntary and forced closures of so many businesses, events, meetings, gatherings, and celebrations is a fluid situation. I think it’s too early to know what the extent of the financial damage is going to be to our local companies but I’ve heard mostly from business owners concerned for their employees’ well-being.”
He added, “The economy has been strong so owners feel they have a little bit of a cushion to weather the early stages of these shutdowns and self-isolations, but they know many of their younger employees are living paycheck to paycheck with very little margin for interruptions in their income. But in the next few weeks, property taxes, income taxes, mortgages, insurances, rent, power, car, and food bills are coming due, so hopefully, these drastic measures that had to be instituted to slow down the spread of this virus will have been proven prudent and these small businesses can start to recover from the sacrifices we are all making.”
James Stone of Stone & Glass, told The Times-Advocate, “ ‘May you be blessed to live in Interesting times.’ These are the most interesting times of my entire life. As we at Stone and Glass navigate through the process of trying to keep our customers safe, our business viable and our lives together, I am amazed at the positive attitudes we encounter every day from everyone, our suppliers, our one employee, our students, our patrons and our friends. It is our hope that this worldwide crisis precipitates a permanently changed level of human kindness, understanding and peace for all of mankind that will help to heal our world.”
Dan Meyers of EDCO told The Times-Advocate: “We’ve eliminated all public access for people to pay their bills at our customer centers. They pay online. No public access. Those are closed as of Wednesday. We’re closing our recycling buyback centers in San Marcos and Fallbrook. All commercial and residential collection routes will be maintained. We always have to pick up!” He added that some businesses are reducing their service because they are closed, “but not because of anything we are doing,” he said.
Stone Brewing is dealing with the situation by offering special pricing on food for take-out and delivery orders via Door Dash. According to a spokesman, we have instituted special pricing on our food items to help make Social Distancing a little easier.
Orders can be made online, by phone or via Door Dash.
Nick Pryor of the Clue Avenue Escape Room on Grand Avenue said that it is hard at this point to know fully how the virus will affect his business. It definitely has the potential to do quite a bit of damage. But we’re hoping that things will start to normalize soon! We’ve noticed a reduction in our bookings, and we’ve had close to $1,000 worth of game cancellations so far.”
Pryor is changing the way they do things in light of the crisis. “We’ve made a few changes to better protect both our employees and customers. We now sanitize all commonly touched items in our rooms after every single game. We also require all employees and customers to wash hands before any games, and all of our games are private, so your team doesn’t get mixed with any other public groups.”