coronavirus economy

Many small businesses on the Central and South Coast are getting ready to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans, now in their second round.

The Santa Barbara Bowl and Arlington Theater lit their buildings with red lights Wednesday night, as part of an effort to call attention to the plight of live entertainment venues during the coronavirus crisis.

It’s Saturday night.  In fact, it’s Fiesta Saturday night in Santa Barbara.  Restaurants and bars are busy.

People are wearing masks, and some are social distancing.  It’s hard, with so many people here on what’s become one of the city’s hot spots, the 500 block of State Street, which has become a temporary open air plaza with al fresco dining.

A non-profit group focused on helping the region’s economy has nearly doubled the amount of money it has to help local businesses hard hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The Economic Development Collaborative has received nearly $2.5 million in new federal funding for a Ventura County business loan fund. 

Coronavirus concerns have turned the summer vacation season into the year of the “Great American Road Trip.”  Many people concerned about traveling overseas or getting into a plane to fly cross-country are now looking at places they can drive to. 

John Palminteri

A nine-block closure of downtown Santa Barbara streets to promote business is now set for an expansion.

Tourism leaders are stuck in a balancing act these days.

Leisure travel saw a big uptick in June, and many people in Southern California are taking driving trips, when they might normally have been flying.

Newly released tax figures in one South Cost city illustrate how deeply the coronavirus crisis has cut into tourism and hotel occupancy.

The City of Santa Barbara’s transient occupancy tax went from $1.4 million dollars in March of 2019 to $576,000 in March of 2020.  That’s a drop of 60%. 

The owner of a Ventura County auto repair shop is greeting a tow truck driver who stopped by to say hello.  Business is slow.  Les Forster is owner of Thousand Oaks Automotive.  It’s a small shop, with Forster and two mechanics. 

But he’s owned it for 15 years, and business had been good -- with a regular clientele.  That’s before the coronavirus crisis hit.  

The coronavirus crisis has impacted all types of business on the Central Coasts. Among the hardest hit is the region’s wine industry, which relies on tourists. The shutdown has left wineries looking for innovative solutions.

One of the most unique has been virtual tastings.

Ventura County is developing a $20 million dollar relief plan intended to help small businesses and families hard hit by the impacts of coronavirus.

The federally-funded relief effort is intended to help some of the businesses and residents hardest hit by coronavirus.

It’s a tough time financially for many people on the Central and South Coasts.

The coronavirus crisis has created economic uncertainty, cost thousands of people in our region their jobs, and created big questions for others. 

The team at Arboles Barber Shop and Salon in Thousand Oaks is back on the job, after more than two months off due to the coronavirus business shutdown.  Like many people in the business, they are excited to be working again, as customers are looking for everything from haircutting to coloring.

A Central Coast resort has announced its reopening plans.  The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians will reopen the Chumash Casino Resort will reopen June 10th.

There will be a number of measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.  

Santa Barbara is trying to help restaurants which have been hard hit by the coronvirus crisis by allowing them to move tables outdoors. 

As a part of the move, much of State Street has been closed to traffic so tables can be moved onto sidewalks, and into the street.