Business owners react to possibility of San Diego being moved to the state’s most restrictive tier
LITTLE ITALY (KUSI) – Small businesses face an uncertain future across San Diego County as fears rise along with the number of cases being recorded by health officials.
“Big chains are going to survive, but small businesses, family owned businesses, we are all struggling right now,” said Manager of Sogno di Vino, Danijela Dostanic. “I am afraid at this point if we shut down or go backwards it won’t be good, because even now with beautiful Al Fresco dining, we are still only at 50% capacity.”
It’s these restrictions on top of already stringent health orders that make businesses fear they won’t recover if they are asked to alter operations yet again.
“If we have to shut down, I’m afraid they’re all going to lose jobs,” Dostanic said. “Not just here in Little Italy, there are places that are far less busy, and that is who will be impacted I’m afraid.”
For the CEO of the Little Italy Association, Marco Li Mandri, he feels the breakdown in leadership among state and county officials has had dire consequences for businesses.
“For starters the county needs to get on the same page as the state, because right now they’re simply not,” Li Mandri said. “It’s so devastating, everything we have done, and the work we’ve put in to make this one of the greatest Little Italy’s in the country is just going away.”
While he’s thankful for leadership from Mayor Kevin Faulconer allowing businesses to move outside, he’s frustrated that other restrictions are placed on businesses even when they are doing the right thing.
“It would be like if someone is speeding down the freeway and they are clearly breaking the rules, so you stop the whole freeway because one person is speeding?” Li Mandri said. “No that’s absurd. You don’t shut down a whole business district if one person is wrong, because if you shut down the business district, you have destroyed the fabric of that community.”
Li Mandri is asking for more representation from those in the business community when it comes to state and county leaders making decisions impacting their economy.
“Say look, we want people’s input, we might not agree with you, but tell us how this is affecting you, tell us how we can help mitigate this in your community,” Li Mandri said.
He continued that safety should always be the first priority, but people’s mental health and their ability to make a living should also play a role in decision-making.
“You cannot tell me that stress, and demoralizing someone to the point of them not knowing how they are going to take care of their families doesn’t have an impact on their health, because of course it does,” Li Mandri said.
He warns that if the yo-yo of openings and closures continue, the very foundation of the economy will crumble.
“In some cases, and I know this personally from tragedies that have happened in my family, but in some cases the cure could be worse than the disease,” Li Mandri said.