BRENTWOOD, Calif. (KRON) – “My first reaction was screw them, I’m opening. That was my first reaction, after about 30 seconds of like, you know, saying a few curse words, let’s just say I realized, no I can’t do that,” Matthew Johnson said.
Frustrated business owners in Contra Costa County who were supposed to reopen Wednesday after months of being closed are now being told they have to wait a bit longer.
The reopening of bars, personal services, gyms, indoor leisure activities and hotels are all being pushed back.
Many of these businesses are now struggling to figure out what they’re supposed to do next.
“We kept thinking, OK, next week we will open or in two weeks we will open or the end of the month we will open,” Johnson said.
It’s been a rough few months for businesses like Matthew Johnson’s.
He runs ILoveKickboxing.com, a kickboxing gym in Brentwood.
After weeks of cleaning and preparing to reopen under new guidelines on Wednesday, he learned the county was taking back what they had previously planned and not allowing gyms to reopen.
“It was like being hit in the stomach, you know what I mean, OK all the winds are out of my sails, you would say,” Johnson said.
County health officials say they postponed reopening businesses who previously got the go ahead to reopen on July 1 because of a rise in positive coronavirus test results.
In the past two weeks, the number of newly identified cases increased from 38 to 87 a day and coronavirus hospitalizations increased 75-percent.
“It’s difficult. It’s disheartening. We understand there are so many different things at play here. The health of everyone is most important to us, but yet getting through this is a process as a small business,” Stephanie Stewart said.
Stephanie Stewart and her family are doing what they can to survive, selling take home kits until they can have customers back in their studio.
Business owners like Amanda Downey, who runs a gym in Oakley, question whether they should open the day the county gives them the go ahead, or wait to make sure they don’t get forced to close again.
“If we are allowed to be open, is it something we should wait a couple weeks and see how things go rather than open and have to shut down again?” Downey said.
Johnson has the same question.
“I don’t want them to go the next day and say oh I’m sorry we made a mistake or set my expectations for my customers again for all these wonderful members and then have to pull the run out from under them,” Johnson said.
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