WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — West Hollywood is a city of nearly 40,000 people. It’s also home to the historic Boystown.
But, since the pandemic hit, the energy has shifted.
In a video posted to Facebook, the owners of Gym sports bar announced they will be closing permanently due to COVID-19.
The country themed bar Flaming Saddles has made the same decision. The same goes for Basecamp Fitness WeHo, and several other popular businesses in the area.
“It’s just sad to see them, even in the streets bc you don’t have any words to say to them,” said Blanca Monsibais, who works in the area. “You wish you can do something for them but you can’t.”
Since the pandemic began, the city of West Hollywood has started several programs to help struggling business owners.
The latest project is called Out Zone. It allows businesses to open up safely outside by using the sidewalk and street space.
“It’s a great program,” said Alexander Manos, the owner of Rocco’s.
But while he says the program has helped, he understands there’s some businesses that can’t benefit from it.
“A lot of them right now, their doors are closed. Obviously for operations purposes they may not be able to operate (in) the certain capacities.”
Larry Block, the owner of Block Party said he has taken advantage of being able to operate outside as well, but he’s concerned about his neighbors and what West Hollywood will look and feel like for future generations.
“There’s a lot of my friends here who are moving out of town, and a lot of my friends who own businesses who are not at terms with their landlords,” he said. “You know, it’s a take it or leave it attitude from some landlords who have monopoly positions in the city over some of our gay bars, and it’s tough.”
More than 60 businesses in WeHo have been approved for temporary outdoor expansion permits. In the coming weeks, the city has said it plans to add more businesses to that list.