It’s hard to miss — some parking lots are booming, some storefronts are nearly empty: All due to the virus that’s sweeping the globe.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order last week curtailed many of the non-essential businesses for the time being when state residents were asked to stay at home, only leaving for essential purposes, like getting food or prescriptions.
Essential services, including food places like grocery stores, farmers markers, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, pharmacies, gas stations, banks and laundromat/ laundry services, will remain open. Other services, including those essential to critical infrastructure, like healthcare and public health, government facilities, emergency services and water remain open as well.
The concern over the virus has lead to overcrowded grocery stores here, as residents stock up on goods.
Susanville Supermarket IGA, for instance, has seen difficulty keeping the shelves stocked for visitors, but owners Rick and Anna Stewart are trying their hardest.
“This isn’t something any of us were prepared for,” said Rick Stewart, who has been in the grocery business for more 40 years. “I have a personal standard. It means a lot to me that the store is well merchandised, well stocked.”
He added the rush of shoppers purchasing food and goods has forced the local grocer to become flexible with how and when they get the products to the store.
Getting products on the shelves for local shoppers is IGA’s goal.
And when the scheduled truck delivery did not meet its 2 a.m. mark Monday, March 16, the owners made the decision to head to Reno to help fill the depleted bread section Tuesday, March 17.
On the Stewarts’ second stop, they finally found some bread, purchased them and made the snowy drive back to Susanville, just in time for the power to go out.
“We are a grocery store; we have an obligation to have groceries,” Rick Stewart said.
The impacts have been dramatic at Susanville Supermarket IGA, from long days to increased sanitization practices; however, Rick Stewart noted there are many other small businesses feeling the effects.
“I am thankful that this is what we’re facing, and I feel real empathy for the small businesses just trying to stay in business,” he said.
Along with increasing the sanitization of carts, pen pads, and other equipment in the store throughout the day, Anna Stewart mentioned there are even 15 minute reminders going off reminding deli employees to wash their hands for the recommended amount of time.
“There is a heightened sense of caution,” Stewart said.
Thankfully, though, Rick Stewart said the local grocery store has its online ordering and curbside delivery system, Rosieapp.com, through which at-risk shoppers, or even those just wanting to avoid the store, can download the app on their phone and order groceries. When ready to pick up, shoppers can send a text and have the groceries delivered to their cars.
Stewart said the demand for the outside pick-up has been increasing.
Other smaller local businesses are feeling the COVID-19 effects, as well.
Before the executive order, Margie’s Book Nook had been selling some puzzles as families geared up for extended times at home, manager David Teeter said.They have since closed for the time being.
Per the executive order, many local restaurants are switching to delivery or take out options, as well; however, some are closing their doors for the time being. Lassen Ale Works at the Pioneer Saloon and The Boardroom do not know when they will reopen.
“We love serving Lassen County and look forward to doing so again as soon as possible,” the restaurant posted on its Facebook page.
Changes in how local businesses are operating are fluid at this time.