Downtown Davis businesses, public entities face further economic uncertainty
On April 30, Yolo County extended its shelter-in-place order from May 1 to May 31. The shelter-in-place order was originally supposed to last until April 7. It was later extended to May 1, and it has now been extended again until the end of May, according to a public press release.
“The health order is intended to continue to slow the spread of novel coronavirus,” the press release stated. “While the State Order to stay at home is still in effect, counties may only permit activities to resume that are not prohibited by the State Order.”
Derar Zawaydeh, the co-owner of Crepeville and Burgers & Brew, said this extension was disappointing for his businesses but necessary for public health.
“The idea is just to stay afloat until this thing blows over,” Zawaydeh said. “I just hope that people will comply with the regulations so that we can put this on the back burner and move on.”
Zawaydeh further emphasized the importance of community involvement in helping struggling businesses and expressed gratitude for those who are still working during this critical time.
“All these businesses really need your support,” Zawaydeh said. “You’re an asset toward expediting the normalcy of it all — of going back to a normal routine.”
Jennifer Schmidt, the owner of Davis Creamery, said small businesses struggle even without a public health crisis.
“It’s hard for small businesses just in general when things are really good in Davis,” Schmidt said. “We’re not even able to break even right now. I think we’re just trying to survive and get through this so that we can keep our doors open.”
Schmidt commended the Davis community for following safety protocol guidelines and supporting local businesses.
“I appreciate the support that we’re getting from the community and the people who are trying to help the downtown businesses,” Schmidt said. “I think the community is rallying behind us businesses, so we’re really lucky to live in a town like Davis.”
Lee Pflugrath, the owner of YoloBerry Yogurt, also commented on the challenges facing local businesses.
“The students are gone, and they bring a lot of business to downtown,” Pflugrath said. “But we have a lot of support from locals now, too. Everybody’s just trying to help the best they can.”
Pflugrath urged people to be more aware of their surroundings and to be conscious of practicing public health measures.
“There’s just so much unknown with this virus,” Pflugrath said. “No one was prepared for it because it totally came out of nowhere. Anything can happen these days to people. I think you just got to be aware.”
Yelena Ivashchenko, the owner of Bohème Used Clothing & Gifts, explained via email how retail businesses are still suffering, despite the recent implementation of curbside pick-up.
“Curbside pickup only doesn’t help our sales much at all as people would like to come in and see what we have and of course want to try things on before purchasing,” Ivashchenko said via email. “We’re hoping that we can open our doors for customers (with safe guidelines and regulations) no later than June 1st. But we don’t control that. We also hope to launch our online store within a month.”
Ivashchenko is a volunteer member of the Board of Directors of the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA). She addressed the financial dilemma faced by the City of Davis during these challenging times.
“I believe that the City of Davis is capable of doing more to help businesses during this situation, but I know they are also financially strapped and they have to be careful in their use of public funds,” Ivashchenko said via email. “The future is very unclear and frankly scary especially for the businesses geared towards students, as we don’t know when in-class sessions will resume. It is pretty safe to say that not all businesses will be coming back, but I hope most do.”
Businesses are not the only ones facing uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Davis City Councilmember Dan Carson explained that if this situation continues for an extended period of time it will pose difficult financial challenges to public schools, the city government and the state government.
“There are all these uncertainties in terms of how this will play out, but we’re hopeful in the City of Davis,” Carson said. “I think all of us will change the way we behave to some degree. We’ve seen our Davis community come together to help each other.”
Carson further assured that locals should have confidence in their city government, which has been hard at work looking out for the needs of the Davis community.
“We’re listening to our county public health experts and following their directions on how to implement shelter-in-place orders,” Carson said. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure the continuity of basic public services.”
Written By: Jelena Lapuz — firstname.lastname@example.org