Locals and visitors comment on the pandemic during a day out in Carpinteria
While the Fourth of July Weekend in Carpinteria wound down to a close quietly, locals and tourists alike packed Carpinteria City Beach and the beach off Santa Claus Lane on Sunday afternoon.
Dozens of beach umbrellas flew like American flags in the sand as families spread out along the beach for an afternoon of swimming, sandcastles and sun.
Mask usage and social distancing appeared to break down the closer the crowds got to the water, but Linden Avenue shoppers and diners respected the safety measures.
Lulu Camberos and Tom Fitzpatrick of El Segundo enjoyed a sidewalk brunch at Esau’s Cafe, a quick walk from the beach.
I’m out of work because of it (COVID-19), so in that regard it has impacted my life. We also have a young daughter, 11 years old, who is basically homeschooled,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Mr. Fitzpatrick worked as a sports official for high school and college basketball, football and baseball games.
“It’s challenging for an 11-year-old kid to sit there and get six hours of schooling at a desk by herself. The motivation isn’t there and I don’t think it’s fair to ask a kid to do that. Plus, I think kids are way more visual these days. They need to interact with people, not machines,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said.
He added that he feels the same frustration at being home all day that his daughter does because sports leagues cancelled most sporting events as of March 7.
“It sucks both ways. Financially, it’s been a real stress and emotionally, it’s not fun to be locked up in a house all day. I realize it’s important to shut things down, but that still doesn’t mean it’s fun,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said.
He explained that COVID-19 regulations in El Segundo appear to be more restrictive than those in Santa Barbara County.
“We’re probably a little more conservative down there and I’m totally cool with that. I’ve got no problem with things being shut down until we get this thing figured out, even if it means being out of work for a little bit,” Mr. Fitzpatrick.
Ms. Camberos said that she has had “almost the opposite” COVID-19 experience.
“I’m an essential worker in the insurance industry, so it’s essentially an abbreviated version of what I do,” Ms. Camberos said.
She works as a State Farm insurance agent in Lawndale.
“I’m healthy and I’m taking all the precautions to stay that way,” Ms. Camberos said.
Just up Linden Avenue, Chris and Flavia Kane of Carpinteria insisted on a shout-out for Tacos Don Roge, as they enjoyed their tacos and burritos at a table outside the restaurant.
“This is a time to take a step back and reevaluate everything. It’s a wonderful opportunity to re-till your personal soil. It’s a time to assess what’s really important,” Mr. Kane said.
He noted that local governments are in an unprecedented position and have responded as best they can.
“I think they’ve done a reasonable job with all things considered. I wish our national government was doing the same. That’s what our problem is,” Mr. Kane said.
Robert Younkin said that he is fortunate to be working during the outbreak. His wife, Lisa, said the school and summer camp closures have been hard on their children.
“My son goes to camp, so no summer camp. Sports would have started and they’re not starting and it’s unknown if school will start in August,” Mrs. Younkin said.
“It’s been challenging, too. Many electronics, not enough…” Mrs. Younkin trailed off as Mr. Younkin interjected “imaginative play or socialization.”
“I personally feel liability perceived or actual is going to be a huge impediment to us getting through this. And it’s gonna cost a lot of small, medium and large businesses their businesses,” Mr. Younkin said. He continued that people should be able to choose what risks they are comfortable taking.
“I think there’s no one-size-fits-all solution and everyone should be able to choose for themselves, because no one really knows,” Mr. Younkin said.
Further up the street at 905 Linden Avenue, sisters Susan Ochoa and Patty Boyd showcased Carpinteria’s newest coffee and sweets shop, Lost & Found.
Ms. Boyd said the sisters signed the lease five days before the COVID-19 shutdowns, but remained committed to opening a unique local hangout.
“We were quite committed. We signed a lease and I think it’s so important to honor your word. We were both very comfortable with the concept and the work required and we perceived that the COVID-19 situation was an added layer of complexity, but not a reason to pull the plug on anything,” Ms. Boyd said.
Lost & Found opened on Thursday, offering outdoor seating only. The owners decorated the space with artwork by Carpinteria painter Lety Garcia, vintage furniture and some beach-themed accessories.
Perhaps the most striking items in the shop are the twin pyramids that sit atop the coffee bar.
Ms. Ochoa said the pyramids are both ornamental and functional because they support the shop’s power lines.
“I always wanted pyramids. I think they’re something you don’t see everywhere. They’re very simple and classic,” Ms. Boyd said.
The sisters are working with a local coffee roaster to re-create a dark coffee blend Ms. Boyd used when she owned a cafe in the 1980s and 90s.
“It’s the one that Alfred Peet developed for my company. I’ve always preferred a darker full-bodied roast, so we’re going in that direction,” Ms. Boyd said.
The sisters said they set up shop on the upper end of Linden Avenue to appeal to the locals and capitalize on foot traffic.
“The demand is always present in the community. Everybody wants to be able to go in and sit down and chat with someone about what’s going on and what they think,” Ms. Boyd said,
“It’s coffee in the morning and the bars in the evening, that’s where all the discussion happens. It’s absolutely timeless and we want to emphasize that sense of community,” Ms. Ochoa said.
Lost & Found is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. They are closed on Monday and Tuesday except on holidays.