Photo Credits: Katherine Hung / Aggie
Threat of COVID-19 still looms as retailers are forced to operate at 20% capacity
The most recent stay-at-home order in the greater Sacramento region included Yolo County, which limited retail to operation at 20% at grocery stores to 35% capacity.
Yolo County Public Information Officer Jenny Tan explained via email how the regional stay-at-home order impacted businesses.
“The Order has impacted the County in a lot of ways – economically, mentally, and also related to the pandemic,” Tan said via email. “The Order was meant to slow the spread of COVID in areas/locations where it was still possible to interact with people outside the home, however, people seem to still be gathering for get togethers, parties, etc.”
Tan noted that retail and shopping centers can only operate at 20% capacity as opposed to the previous 50% capacity and restaurants can only utilize take-out or delivery services.
Marketing coordinator of Downtown Davis Business Association (DDBA) Aaron Wedra listed the various ways the DDBA has been active during the pandemic.
Wedra stated via email that the Gifting Stimulus program “[…] infused $200,000+ into downtown businesses at the beginning of the pandemic.” Other notable projects included the Communal Art Project, Open Air Davis initiative, Healthy Davis Together, 7 Days of Halloween & Beyond and Shop Small Saturday.
Owner of Raja’s Tandoor Aamit Chowdhury provided insight on how his business has changed since the pandemic began.
Before the pandemic, Chowdhury described how Raja’s Tandoor was set up as an all-you-can-eat buffet. When the pandemic started, the business changed from being a buffet to a-la-carte style in order to adapt to changing safety regulations.
“The most important thing for Team Raja is to make sure our employees and our customers are safe and are healthy,” Chowdhury said. “The health department was a great influence in helping us reorganize the restaurant so we can keep our employees and our customers more safe.”
Wedra encouraged Davis residents to continue supporting small businesses during the pandemic.
“Continue to visit downtown Davis and any of your favorite small businesses,” Wedra said via email. “We all know Amazon will be there at the end of the pandemic. Let’s make sure your favorite small businesses are too.”
Chowdhury noted that sales went down for Raja’s Tandoor by 70% right after the pandemic began.
“A lot of the businesses depend on the students,” Chowdhury said. “A lot of locals don’t know about us. We’re popular among the college students—but most of them aren’t even here.”
Tan noted how difficult the pandemic has been on the economy.
“People are still contracting COVID-19,” Tan said via email. “The pandemic has been a thin line we’ve been straddling, between what’s good for our public’s health and safety and what’s good for the economy.”
Chowdhury reflected on the positive support from the Davis community.
“We really appreciate the love and support from our community,” Chowdhury said. “We’re just grateful to have our small business in Davis because of the love and support that they’re giving us. Hopefully we’re able to ride this wave and be able to stay in business.”
Tan provided one final note of encouragement regarding the pandemic.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel but it is still going to take time,” Tan said via email. “In the meanwhile, please continue to wear face coverings and physical distance and when your opportunity comes, consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Written By: Jelena Lapuz — firstname.lastname@example.org