SCV businesses react to coronavirus concerns

A customer leaves New Moon Restaurant carrying a to-go container Monday evening. March 23, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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As Santa Clarita Valley residents continue to self-quarantine, many local “essential” businesses are doing what they can to remain open.

Soapy Suds Car Wash in Valencia just went under a complete sanitization, both inside and out, just a few days ago, according to owner Armen Zargarian.

“Since we’re obviously in the sanitation industry, we wanted to stay open and do what we can to help the community — as it is just as important to clean your cars as it is to wash your hands,” Zargarian said. “Being in the automotive industry and based on sanitation, we provide to customers’ cars, we were given the green light to remain open.”

Not only are sanitation efforts at an all-time high at Soapy Suds, but Zargarian has also chosen to provide his employees and their families with N95 masks, hand sanitizer to take home, as well as some to keep with them as they clean customers’ cars, along with 5,000 pairs of gloves.

In addition, all employees were given nonintrusive thermometers, so they can check themselves before they come in.

“In times like these, everyone needs help,” he said. “And, it’s beneficial for us, so our customers feel safe coming in.”

The car wash is also offering customers a free disinfectant wipe-down for the interior.

Zargarian believes it’s the rainy weather that’s keeping customers away for now, but still hopes the current health concerns won’t last long. They’ve chosen to remain closed through the rain, but are expected to open back up Thursday.

Despite strict social distancing measures being enacted across the state local restaurants continue to remain open for take-out and delivery. March 23, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Similarly, SCV Glassworks has increased sanitation in the workplace, instructing its employees to first clean themselves, then clean their equipment, before heading out at the start of each workday.

“In a perfect world, we’d all like to shut down, but it doesn’t work that way in the real world with bills to pay,” said Todd Zwolensky, president and owner. “We’re just taking it day by day right now to see what we can do to mitigate the effects on our employees and meet obligations to vendors and customers.”

Still, they have seen a slight decline in business and expect it to continue to slow down as people finally realize the gravity of the situation, Zwolensky said.

“Which is why it’s important that (we stay open),” he added. “We understand the gravity of this, so that’s how we’re approaching this thing right now, and we’re hoping that’s going to be enough.”

Even so, Zwolensky has given some of his employees the opportunity to remain home with their vulnerable family members while still being paid.

But, as a small business owner himself, Zwolensky knows that it’s the smaller businesses that are going to struggle.

“We don’t make a tremendous amount of money, so you have to have some sort of passion (for what you do),” he said. “It’s the big companies that are going to survive this thing.”

This is why Zwolensky is urging residents to continue to support their local small businesses.

Old Town Junction is one of several local restaurants that has remained open for take-out and delivery despite closing its doors to sit-down customers in the face of new social distancing measures. March 23, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

On the other hand, Italia Panetteria & Deli in Valencia has seen an increase in business, though the tables that typically take up the majority of their business are now stacked in the corner.

The restaurant offers some groceries, including freshly baked bread, pasta, sauces, sausage and other Italian staples, according to owner Victoria Magnanimo.

“As fast as we can make stuff, it’s going,” Magnanimo said. “We’re doing pretty good at keeping up on it so far.”

The store has already had three deliveries since last week, only one of which was scheduled.

“We’re trying to support our community and stay open as long as we can,” she added. “As long as people stay well behaved, we’ll keep doing that.”

Magnanimo has had to put a limit on how many items a customer can buy and asks they be considerate of how much they’re taking. “Be kind and patient because we’re doing our best.”

Still, things have begun to slow down as all non-essential businesses in the area have shut down, and they’ve had to reduce their hours to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

A customer leaves New Moon Restaurant carrying a to-go container Monday evening. March 23, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Advanced Audiology is in an interesting position, as a majority of its customers are senior citizens.

“We’re in the hearing aid business, and patients don’t want to come in, everybody is canceling,” owner Nola Aronson said Thursday. “It’s been terrible.”

Since then, Aronson was told the business was “non-essential” and had to make the difficult decision to suspend in-office services as of Monday.

Still, Aronson is trying to be here for the community, mailing batteries or any other needed supplies, making individual appointments for clients with issues and accepting calls from patients for any questions they may have. “We want to show them that we’re here for them.”

Unfortunately, a majority of Aronson’s business cannot be done at home and she worries what will happen if this continues for longer than a month.

“The problem is, if people don’t start to come in sooner or later, there won’t be a business here to come to,” she said.

Regrettably, Smile City Dental chose to voluntarily close for two weeks as a precaution for staff and the community, according to office manager, Sarah, who declined to give her last name.

“It’s pretty devastating,” she said. “We’ve got no income coming in at all and our margins are very thin as it is.”

Though she’s still trying to sort through the incoming legislation that will hopefully provide some assistance, she said it will surely have a significant impact on the business.

“I’m not sure how we’re going to stay afloat,” Sarah said. “I do hope the government and local authorities step up to help out small businesses. They need to, otherwise, we are not going to survive.”

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