The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of every American and has forced all of us to adapt to a new normal. One of the most impacted groups has been small businesses who have faced the challenge of implementing new social distancing and health regulations as well as letting go most of their staff.
I interviewed three small businesses in Cypress and got their insight on the setbacks and changes that have occurred during this unprecedented time.
In a phone interview with Kush Bowl’s owner Justin Chung, we spoke about how the virus has affected his business. This eatery is family-run, and when news broke about COVID-19 in March and April sales slowed down a large amount. To save costs they had to make the decision to let most of their staff go and make it family employed only. Kush Bowl has not had any closures; Switching their business to take out only as closing was not something they could afford to do. Justin mentioned that he noticed sales picking up around May and June, around the time Coronavirus stimulus checks were sent out to many Americans. Some sources of aid they acquired were grants, “It helped us survive,” he said. An example would be Cypress’ Small Business Relief Grant Program (SBRGP) that provides grants of up to $7,500 to small businesses located in Cypress with less than 25 employees. As businesses begin to usher things back to normal I inquired about the possibility of a second wave hitting and how they would handle it. He said that the business is more prepared on what to do if the time ever came, “with the proper precautions, we will be okay.” Located at 5890 Lincoln Ave, Cypress, CA 90630, they are welcoming students (with masks) to come and enjoy their food. As a bonus, if you show your school ID you can get a free drink with your meal!
Ana Ramirez, owner of Senor Taco for 8 years this November recounted the effects on her business. “The virus has impacted us a lot, I would say about 60% of our sales.” Without dine-in, Ana had to change its operations to take-out only. Similar to Kush Bowl, they have not been able to close their doors as they could not afford any more losses than already dealt with by the pandemic. The staffing levels at Senor Taco have been the same but hours have been reduced to accommodate the financial hardships.
It has been even tougher with the lack of student customers. Cypress College’s campus has been closed since March 13 which means a big part of their customer makeup has been cut. Some changes in operations have been performed to create a safer environment for business. Wearing a mask upon entry is mandatory as Senor Taco have provided a sanitation stand for customers to disinfect their hands and keep the risk of germs to a minimum. They also provide their employees with gloves as well as created strict protocols to their handwashing and cleanliness procedures. Senor Taco have adjusted to follow new state and federal guidelines to offer a safe ordering experience. They are open for takeout and delivery and can be found at 9213 Valley View St, Cypress, CA 90630.
Food establishments were able to keep their business afloat by shifting their business to takeout or delivery only. Unlike restaurant, sports bars like Campus Billiards Craft Beer and Sports were hit especially hard. Employee Micheal Stevens said they had to shut down the establishment for 3 months. There was no way they were able to operate and their staff was out of work for that entirety. This took a big financial toll on Campus Billiards and when questioned about a second wave he said, “If we were to close down again for 3 months, financially it would be bad. Right now, we are digging ourselves out of that hole.” When they were cleared to reopen, Campus Billiards was able to offer the staff their jobs back but since California guidelines are restricting business to half capacity, some did not accept the offer. Like many others, they offer outdoor seating and sit-down dining is now available. Voted as one of the best sports bars in Orange County, they are located at 9111 Valley View Ste 107, Cypress, CA 90680.