Businesses struggling through the economic hardships of the pandemic have led cities and the state of California to offer unprecedented assistance to help firms, large and small, stay above water.
Mandates and restrictions — mostly incurred via county health and state regulations — have created an economic nightmare like quicksand for many in the business community and some local cities have been lenient with those found in violation of the new reality we are all facing.
However, the reality, according to Monrovia City Manager Dylan Feik, is that business needs during the pandemic far outweigh what local cities or states can offer. This poignant observation reflects the anxiety merchants are feeling in every city in the United States.
With that said, local cities like Monrovia, Pasadena and Sierra Madre have tried to help ailing restaurants by expanding dining opportunities literally into the streets. Some eateries have also spent additional funds to create semi-permanent outdoor patios in an effort to stay in business.
With retail, problems are more complex. With a limited number of customers allowed at any given time, the average shopkeeper isn’t necessarily about to make a good living. Things have changed due to the pandemic
Feik told Beacon Media that the city has been “Very lenient during COVID. We have not issued a single citation related to COVID and work tirelessly to educate/inform residents and businesses. One business continues to have outdoor music playing on certain nights when we’ve told the business owner three times it is not allowed. Right now, the state is offering a program to businesses that essentially allows them to keep sales tax dollars as a ‘loan’ and repay it over the next 12 months. It’s not free money rather a loan, but it should help. There are also federal CARES Act dollars that support operating costs during the pandemic. Aside from these temporary solutions, I’m not aware of a long-term program/plan to address rising rents.”
With all this, the overwhelming struggles also boil down to the biggest monthly expense: rent.