Contra Costa County Businesses Defy Health Orders

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The new shelter-at-home order is in full force in Contra Costa County, outdoor dining has ended and hair and nail salons are now closed. But some small businesses are fighting back.

Business owners, including the owner of Crumbs Restaurant in Danville, say they plan to defy the order and reopen to stay afloat.

“Take out is about 10% of our business,” said Amy Sidhom. “We can’t pay our rent on 10% of business. We can’t pay our people, we can’t pay our vendors.” 

Sidhom said she simply won’t be able to survive for long under the new shutdown order. So she, along with about 20 other downtown Danville restaurants, plan to reopen for outdoor dining this week. 

“We’re going to open distanced outside just like before. And we feel our customers and team members have a choice to come or not to come,” she said. 

Some businesses never even shut down. There was a steady stream of people going in and out of Danville’s Fitness 19 gym. The gym’s already been hit with a $250 fine from the county but remains open for workouts  and customers say they’re grateful 

“Physical activity makes you feel better and overcomes the feeling of being isolated, the depression that comes with that,” said gym member Ted Johnson. 

The owner of Martinez’s Bar Cava said he too will reopen. He’s considering a creative solution that he believes stays within the order, opening up outside for private religious worship. 

“I might open a private membership temple so people can come pray called ‘French Laundry Temple of Martinez,’” said Corey Katz. “Take all denominations, all religions, two drink minimum for membership.”

As business owners grappled with what to do, a group of women held up signs and passed out fliers in downtown Danville today urging people to get behind small business. 

“At what point do we say we have nothing left to go back to.” said resident Cheryl Keden. “There will be nothing to open, there will be nothing left to open. We have to stand up, we have to fight, we cannot wait.”

Meanwhile. the county says it will continue issuing fines and the board of supervisors says they’ll discuss increasing penalties at their meeting Tuesday.

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