A cafe owner in the small town of El Dorado says she’s going under if she doesn’t reopen her doors, so she plans to be open to the public for sit-down meals on May 1.
Cherie Baldridge says takeout orders for cafe fare like omelets and home-cooked food are bringing in between 8 and 20 percent of the cafe’s typical daily income. She says her landlord has now given her two eviction notices during the stay-at-home order.
“It’s a matter of survival,” she said. “I put my whole life savings into this place.”
Baldridge says she’s had the cafe for about five years and has one employee who isn’t family. El Dorado County is not renewing its stay-at-home order, which expires May 1.
But, the state order preventing bars and restaurants from having customers eat inside continues to be in effect. Baldridge says she can seat 11 people inside and has no outside seating.
“My customers want to sit at a table and eat real food off a real plate,” she said. “I can’t put a table in my dirt parking lot.”
According to the Mountain Democrat, El Dorado County Sheriff John D'Agostini went to court to request a ban on eviction notices a month ago and the request was granted. The court said it would not file any requests until at least May 31.
Baldridge says she isn’t sure what the law is, but doesn’t trust the government will step in to help her.
“Hard to trust anything coming from anyone,” she said. “I don’t believe (California Gov. Gavin) Newsom or the president. No one’s doing anything.”
She added that she has not received her federal stimulus check.
Her landlord, Will Overholtzer, said he was not threatening Baldridge and described their relationship as “cordial.” He said he has bills too, and is hopeful Baldridge can show she plans to pay what she owes when she can.
“Can she pay part of her rent?” he asked. “I was trying to facilitate a discussion."
He was unsure of the specifics of the court action requested by the sheriff.
“The legal thing … is a recent thing that I’ve heard about,” Overholtzer said. “I don’t intend to evict anybody. But, eventually, if they don’t pay rent, they’re gonna have to leave,”
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams sent Gov. Newsom a letter on April 28 asking for a “... limited, phased reopening of our economy that allows for the eventual safe return of El Dorado County to normal operations and activities in a safe manner.”
The county has 44 positive results out of 2,050 tests and four active COVID-19 cases.
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