PHOTO: Watermelon Music closed its doors to the public on March 19 but still offers online orders with delivery services.
By Priscilla Lee,
Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s direction on March 16 for a possible statewide shelter-in-place, the City of Davis advocated guidelines recommending residents only leave their homes for “essential purposes, such as necessary medical appointments, grocery shopping or picking up prepared meals at a restaurant and traveling to perform essential job functions.”
With no potential customers roaming the city, the question of how local businesses are faring arises.
One local business offering online orders and curbside pickup is the instrument store Watermelon Music in West Davis. Concerts and recitals in the performance venue “the Melon Ballroom” have been canceled, and a local band had to privately record without a live audience. All these events would have gathered over 50 people and wouldn’t be following the safety guidelines set by public health officials.
As of March 19, the store is closed to the public and purchased tickets are still valid for rescheduled concerts or a refund.
Watermelon Music is a local business, with daily income contributing to worker pay, running facilities, ordering products and other important aspects of the business. This means the company doesn’t have a “major cash cushion” to support itself if there is a decrease in sales.
“I will not defy any public order and will respect all recommendations, but don’t know how I could pay our bills if we are closed for any extended period of time,” Jeff Simons, the owner of the company, wrote in an email.
Similarly, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis has suspended all in-person services and will not host any outside programs for the time being. All worship, class and meeting times have been moved to online video methods, according to congregational administrator Mandy Dawn.
The UC Davis bookstore has limited the number of customers allowed into the store and increased sanitation methods during open hours, according to an update on the UCD website on March 25.
Local stores downtown have taken precautionary measures and shut down to the public, such as the clothing store Bohème.
The Music Stream Center located in Central Davis temporarily closed its computer lab sessions and has asked students who feel sick or have sick family members to stay home. Its website encourages families to schedule remote lessons with their teachers.
Small businesses, private non-profit organizations, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises have the option of applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans to meet financial needs depending on the impact of the disaster, according to the City website as of March 16. The website also has resources available to help employees affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
The city urges businesses and customers to be flexible as the situation progresses.