Funk Zone businesses repeat lockdown policies
A regional stay-at-home order took effect at midnight, forcing a variety of businesses to close or operate under further limitations until the state reevaluates the order the week of Dec. 28.
Sunday afternoon, the News-Press talked to local business managers in the Funk Zone as they enjoyed their last few hours before the order was scheduled to begin.
The order looks slightly different from the April 5 order, for it allows retail locations to stay open at 20% capacity. But many businesses are repeating their protocols from April.
Pali Wine Company, at 116 E Yanonali St. in Santa Barbara, will sell bottles of wine and other retail goods from its storefront but closing the on-site tastings.
“We’ve had a lot of local support. Last lockdown, we had a lot of people coming through and still purchasing bottles,” Pali Wine Co.’s assistant manager Amanda Davis said.
She said customers have been disappointed but understanding.
“We’ve been through this before, so people know what to expect,” she said.
To encourage year-end purchases, bottles of wine will be on sale — just in time for the holidays.
The new order disrupts holiday plans, for the soonest counties can be reevaluated for reopening is Dec. 28. Hotels and lodging are only allowed to open for “critical infrastructure support only.”
An unidentified group is advertising a peaceful protest with the phrase “We want happy holidays.” The protest is scheduled for Saturday.
Dart Coffee Company, located at 121 E Yanonali St., was decked out in Christmas trees and smelled like cinnamon. A large table displayed its regular merchandise and bags of coffee.
Owner Erika Carter hadn’t planned any additional retail offering, but she said the shop’s social media will announce any coming changes.
She plans on keeping the storefront open during its regular hours for people to pick up coffee, but the garden and outdoor seating will close in accordance with the mandate.
Topa Topa Brewing Company, at 120 Santa Barbara St., will also be open during its regular hours for customers to pick up a six pack or a t-shirt. It’ll be releasing new brews as scheduled.
Manager Michael Martinez says the setup is like a “glorified grocery store.” Customers can buy the product to take home.
“I’m very grateful to be in the Funk Zone and not State Street,” assistant manager Lanea Pearson said. “We have space to do it our way and in the safest way possible, and do it in a way that reflects our mission and our values.”
She has enjoyed being able to space out customers beyond six feet. And the customers have responded well and said they feel safe.
“We’ve been able to set up a business model at each stage of the lockdown,” she said.
The upcoming three weeks is not uncharted territory for the businesses that have persisted throughout the pandemic.
Graham Hadidian, one of The Valley Project’s supervisors, said the shutdowns in Los Angeles and San Francisco brought business to Santa Barbara wineries. The tasting room, located in suite B of 116 E Yanonali St., gained members who couldn’t make trips out to Napa, CA.
“The bread and butter of wineries is members, not drinks,” he said. “We have a longstanding commitment to members, so it’s frightening not having a place for tastings.”
In March, online sales of bottles shot up in response to the stay-at-home order. He predicts similar retail sales, allowing The Valley Project to continue paying its employees.
He appreciates the customers and said many of the visitors to the Funk Zone have been very courteous and adhered to social distancing and mask protocols.
The cafe tables lining the Funk Zone were mostly empty Sunday early afternoon, though a few small groups grabbed glasses in anticipation of hunkering down the next few weeks.