Paseo Nuevo shops open up, though concerns loom due to pandemic
With the local Santa Barbara community slowly opening up, more and more local heads are taking a peek outside to try to regain a sense of normalcy.
On Saturday, Santa Barbarans got to hang out at a few more spots that opened up as some shops at the Paseo Nuevo outdoor mall opened for the first time since being shut down in mid-March due to the pandemic.
One of the shops was Evangelina Boutique, which saw a couple customers go in and out. Despite not wanting to be interviewed, the cashier at the store looked pleased to be helping customers and having the shop open.
The majority of the shops open, however, were in the food department with places such as ParadICE, 805 Boba, Sushi Tyme and other locations open for business.
Scott Coons, a Santa Barbara for the last 10 years, told the News-Press he was happy to be seated outside the patio of many local restaurants just enjoying a beautiful Santa Barbara day.
“It’s nice because other people are out too. I mean I was going out and taking walks and stuff, but there was really nobody on the streets. So now that places are open and stuff, it’s good. Just to be able to sit at a table is nice,” Mr. Coons said.
Fellow local Pauline DeLarge expressed a similar emotion.
“It feels like being alive again,” she said with a wide smile on her face.
Ms. DeLarge said that she wasn’t particularly excited for the reopening of any one place, but was just overall happy to see people out, including herself.
“Not being cooped up in the house anymore feels good. Just being out and walking down State Street today has been beautiful,” Ms. DeLarge said.
Still, while there is excitement for businesses being back in action for a lot of locations, some know that there is quite a hill to climb.
Tayfun Erhan, owner of Sweet Creams in the mall, said right away that he was “really scared of what is going to happen.”
Mr. Erhan said that before COVID-19, construction put a damper on business. Now that Santa Barbara has set it up so that State Street gets a lot of attention due to how everything is being reorganized, he is unsure of what to do.
Mr. Erhan also said that the city and the health department should be a bit more flexible with its rules and regulations to reopening, although they are following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s guidelines.
“If they want some business here in Santa Barbara, instead of empty stores, empty places, they need to be more flexible. Right now, we need to make money or else it will be like a ghost town. And, I don’t think it’s fair for me. All the grocery stores are open so why are retailers closed?” Mr. Erhan said.
“Tell me the difference between Ralphs and the GAP? Over there (at Ralph’s) there are about 3,000 people going every day but in GAP there would be about 200-300 and they can sanitize much easier. The law is just not fair.”