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By Mike Hazlip–
Business is down by about 50% for a Citrus Heights taqueria, and a salon at Sylvan Corners has shifted operations outdoors rather than shut down completely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ever-changing state health mandates and county orders have put local businesses on a roller coaster ride they never anticipated. Some are still closed temporarily, while a costume shop on Auburn Boulevard closed its doors permanently last month.
The City of Citrus Heights is doing its part to alleviate some of the burden for local businesses by relaxing regulations to allow temporary outdoor signage and let restaurants convert parking areas into outdoor dining.
The city has also continued its “Love Local” campaign to encourage shopping at local establishments, along with supplying free masks to businesses and partnering with select restaurants to offer free meals to at-risk individuals and seniors using a combination of federal, state and local funds.
Haircuts and dining are some of the activities being conducted in the heat of summer that were once done inside air conditioned businesses as local establishments move operations outside in an effort to keep their doors open during COVID-19 shutdown orders.
Customers at iSalon at Sylvan Corners could be seen getting haircuts over the weekend while sitting in salon chairs that staff moved onto the sidewalk outside their business.
The salon owner declined to be recorded, but told The Sentinel Saturday there is more space to separate customers inside the salon than what the sidewalk can accommodate.
Working in the heat of summer while standing on the concrete sidewalk is tiring for the owner, but she still has rent to pay. She said she has worked out a payment plan with property management to keep the doors open.
The Salon has moved two chairs outside on a trial basis and only planned to serve customers until 1 p.m., but remained open longer as more customers showed up. iSalon provides masks for customers and follows sanitizing regulations to prevent the spread of the virus.
One of those customers waiting was Allen Lee, 31, of Roseville. The small business owner, who recently moved from Citrus Heights, said he was glad the salon was open Saturday.
“My wife told me to get a haircut right after we opened up, and then before we closed down, and I wasn’t listening,” Lee said. “So I’m glad someone is actually doing a haircut.”
La Fiesta Taqueria at Sunrise Marketplace is another business working overtime to continue serving customers.
Owner Hector Martinez told The Sentinel in an interview last week the family run business is doing everything they can to comply with the governor’s orders. Martinez said this is the most difficult time he can remember since opening the taqueria in 1999. Business is down about 50%, he said.
The Martinez family works extra hours to carry booths and tables outside during business hours, then bring everything back into the restaurant after closing at night. He said the commercial property management company is working with them to allow the outdoor seating which helps him keep the establishment open.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced new measures aimed at bringing businesses into compliance with state mandates for wearing masks and social distancing. The added enforcement comes from regulatory agencies with the authority to fine businesses for non-compliance.
La Fiesta Taqueria appeared on a list of businesses that received fines for initially allowing dine-in eating, according to news outlets KCRA and the Sacramento Bee, however Martinez told The Sentinel he was not aware of any inspectors at his location.
Hector Alcazar, general manager of nearby El Tapatio restaurant, told The Sentinel earlier this month that health inspectors visited his location unannounced. His business passed inspection, but others were fined by undercover inspectors the same day as the governor’s announcement, according to news sources.
Enforcement efforts were announced amid a spike in COVID-19 cases which, in Citrus Heights, have tripled since June. While hospitalizations have also increased in the county, only one death has been reported in Citrus Heights since mid-May.
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