Written by William Hale
As a result of the tyrannical anti-business COVID policies that inconvenienced Californians over the last two years, nearly 6,000 businesses did not renew their licenses between July 2019, and February 2022.
Dennis O’Sullivan knows this reality all too well, as his Escondido pub had to defy lockdown orders in 2020 by allowing outdoor dining. In regard to the lockdowns, O’Sullivan says, “It hurt… We were open, closed, open, closed, open, closed three times.” O’Sullivan’s Escondido location was barely able to survive, “we’re at the very bottom of the bank account at this point,” said O’Sullivan, but his Carlsbad location did not make it.
Brian LaMere had a similar situation throughout the pandemic. Although his winery was able to survive the lockdowns, LaMere paid $10,000 a month while not being open for business over the two years of on-and-off restrictions.
Michael McCormick and his wife had to be creative while managing their ballroom dance studio, offering virtual instruction as a last resort. “I think the most important thing as things progressed is not to overreact,” said McCormick, who moved into his Grand Ave studio just in time for the March 2020 lockdown.
While all three of these business owners were dealt an impossible hand during the pandemic, each of them believe this experience made them stronger. O’Sullivan, LaMere, and McCormick, not to mention every other constrained California entrepreneur, are certainly excited to return to a normal business environment.
There is reason for optimism in Escondido, as 1,900 new businesses filed applications for licenses each of the past two fiscal years, suggesting a promising economic outlook as we exit the pandemic.
Photo Cred: San Diego Real Estate Hunter