COVID closures, looting and curfews: Santa Monica businesses work to rebound from series of setbacks

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- Workers at Truxton's American Bistro in Santa Monica on Tuesday were again serving diners.

After weathering the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, last weekend the restaurant was among dozens of Santa Monica businesses ransacked by looters after what started as a peaceful protest.

"They broke into the window, the front door window," said Nichole Vancourt, restaurant's general manager. "They just wanted booze."

Many local businesses faced a one-two punch of sorts this week -- first with the COVID-19 crisis, then curfews in place.

In some areas, other businesses chose to board up, concerned about vandalism. Upper West Restaurant in Santa Monica remained closed due to a citywide curfew.

Woman stands with bike to help protect Santa Monica jewelry store from looters
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STANDING FOR GOOD: A woman stood with her bike in front of Bubar's Jewelers in Santa Monica for a couple hours to help protect the store from potential looters.

"You put the global pandemic and then the rioting," said Nicholas Shipp, the restaurant's executive chef, "and the protesting on top of things, citywide curfews -- it's debilitating."

Manfred Keil, an associate professor of economics at Claremont College, said recent events have hit some sectors harder than others.

"Those are leisure and hospitality and retail trade -- if they cannot open it will further delay the recovery," he said.

With protests -- and little physical distancing -- concerns abound about a second wave of COVID-19 further damaging economic recovery. And then there's rebuilding consumer confidence.

"If you don't feel that you can go out safely to shop or to go to a restaurant then you will not do it," said Keil, who believes the recent civil unrest will delay the reopening of the economy by about a month.

Truxton's general manager remains optimistic.

"I have a really supportive team who's willing to do anything and everything to make this work," Vancourt said.
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