NORCO (CBSLA) — Small business owners in Riverside County have begun to reopen, defying Gov. Gavin Newsom’s five phase plan for the state.
But, the owners said they aren’t trying to disregard guidelines. They’re just trying to survive.
“I’m not doing anything to be defiant,” said Kelly Michelen, owner of Self Made Training Facility in Corona.
Michelen reopened her doors this week, despite Newsom saying gyms must remain closed for at least a couple more months. She said she felt more comfortable doing so after Riverside County officials made it clear during a recent meeting that they would not be enforcing the governor’s orders or criminalizing business owners.
The facility is taking extra precautions to keep clients safe, such as taking everyone’s temperature when they enter and having clients sign COVID-19 safety waivers.
Lather Studio in Corona has been booking hair cut and color appointments for the past three weeks. Owner Kira Boranian has been encouraging other businesses to follow her lead.
“I just took it upon myself to put two feet on the ground, stand hard, and open up,” she said.
Like Michelen, Boranian has implemented extra measures to try to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Open up your business,” she said. “Be safe about it. Be smart about it. This is all common sense.”
Not far away, the Original Pancake House also opened dining area Thursday. The family owned restaurant said it decided to reopen to help keep food on its 30 employees’ tables.
On their first day back in operation, they received a $100 tip on a $29 meal with a note reading: “Thanks for making this feel like America again!”