"Big Losses, Crushing Debt,quot; – Up News Info Los Angeles

MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA) – Officials in Manhattan Beach are urging Los Angeles County and state leaders to ask permission to completely reopen small retailers in time for Memorial Day weekend.

FILE: An open pizzeria allows customers to enter one by one to order during the new coronavirus pandemic on April 28, 2020, in Manhattan Beach, California (Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the Manhattan City Council sent letters to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, demanding that small retailers be reopened for more than just curbside pickup and under the same protocols as large companies, such as grocery stores and certain large box stores, which have been considered essential since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Small business owners "face excruciating choices as they experience huge revenue losses, unpaid bills, crushing debts, and growing hopelessness with each day that their businesses cannot fully reopen," wrote Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery .

The letter goes on to argue that these companies could lose customers due to the large retail chains if purchasing habits change due to COVID-19.

"Locally, we have a Target and Costco that are completely open to customers because they were deemed 'essential.' We note that shopping habits are changing at department stores and our small retailers should be allowed to compete or lose their customers. forever, or worse, close forever.

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Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn seemed to support the Manhattan Beach position. On Wednesday, he also wrote a letter to Newsom requesting that small retailers in Los Angeles County be reopened their doors under the same requirements (physical distance, limited capacity, and facial covers) that big ones follow.

"If these measures are working to keep essential retail companies open and safe like Target Home Depot and Costco, they certainly can apply to all retailers," he wrote to the governor.

Small business owners in Manhattan Beach praise city leaders for pushing to allow them to reopen.

On a typical Friday night, Ercole's bar would be full. Due to coronavirus shutdown orders, doors are closed. Ercole & # 39; s has been operating in Los Angeles County since 1927, and the bar's manager, Gary Barnes, said the bar must reopen if it expects to stay.

"We have been here forever, and we would hate if we had to close," he said. "We are part of the community. We are not a great bar or a large corporate chain."

While some companies are fulfilling delivery orders on the sidewalk, many remained closed on Friday. Brian Bullock, a 32-year-old Manhattan Beach resident, said enough is enough.

"We have already ruined many people's lives," he said. "A damaged economy … do you know what that means? That means people are hurt."

On Wednesday, Ventura County received state permission for an expedited reopening that immediately allowed restaurants to reopen for a modified dinner service and some retailers to shop in-store.

This is in part due to the fact that Ventura County has only reported 883 total coronavirus cases and 29 deaths as of Thursday, while Los Angeles County has reported 42,037 cases and 2,016 deaths.

However, Manhattan Beach has only reported 74 cases. It is one of several cities in Los Angeles County that request an expedited reopening based on its low case rate.

California is currently in phase two of Governor Gavin Newsom's four-phase reopening plan. Almost all retailers and restaurants have been allowed to reopen for pickup on the sidewalk. In Los Angeles, pet grooming and car wash businesses were also reopened this week. Beaches, golf courses and trails have been reopened.

However, the nail and beauty salons remain closed and they have asked officials to allow them to reopen. They fall into the third stage of Newsom's plan, which also includes gyms, cinemas, and sports venues without fans.


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