STOCKTON (CBS13) — San Joaquin County got the green light to move into the Red Tier of the state’s reopening plan Tuesday, but some businesses say even with this milestone, the restrictions are too tight to allow them to stay open.
Chuck’s restaurant has been closed for three months, and still can’t operate with 2% capacity.
“When the last bump came in, I was out,” said owner Steve Grant.
The restaurant is celebrating 60 years in Stockton. But like many businesses, this year isn’t one worth celebrating.
“Not once in those 60 years have I ever thought this was going to happen or be worried about making money,” he said.
Staying open and operating at 25% capacity wasn’t worth it for the longtime owner, so he shut his doors.
“I wasn’t making enough money to pay the bills because of all the other overhead costs and the lower amount of people,” Grant said.
Now, San Joaquin County is in the Red Tier and allows indoor dining once again, which means Grant can serve just four tables inside. So now, he’s investing, spending $10,000 into building an outdoor space.
Down the street from the restaurant at the Sherwood Mall, restaurants, retail and beauty shops operate all under one roof, with different restrictions in the red tier.
“You walk through a mall and you wonder, how are they going to sustain?” said General Manager Patrick Dobson.
He says only one business is not reopening inside.
“There’s no clean-cut answer for how things are going to pan out,” he said.
Gilbert Ojeda opened his first business, a virtual reality arcade inside the mall. He says COVID-19 came at the worst time for him, and he worries about paying rent.
“Having the income to pay the rent and make sure everything goes well,” he said.
He hopes even with 25% capacity, bringing a unique business at a trying time will build his client base inside the mall.
“It’s just a question mark as to what lies ahead,” he said.
Many businesses are taking that risk, unsure of what’s next and hopeful they’ll make it to the orange tier soon, which would allow 50% indoor operations.