Businesses are changing the way they look and operate as they reopen during the pandemic. CapRadio’s Steve Milne talked about those changes with The Sacramento Business Journal's Digital Editor Sonya Sorich.
On the push for outdoor seating
There are lots of examples including the MARRS Building in Midtown Sacramento. The building got approval from the city to close off a block of 20th between J and K streets for what'll become an expanded beer garden with food and drinks from MARRS building tenants like LowBrau. This is part of Sacramento's Farm to Fork Al Fresco program. It's an effort to make it easier for restaurants to provide outdoor seating while operating at reduced capacity for social distancing. Just last week, the city announced that eateries can receive grants of up to $3,000 as reimbursement for adding or expanding outdoor dining. And while the Farm to Fork Al Fresco program is only for Sacramento; we've also seen expanded outdoor seating areas in cities like Folsom and Rancho Cordova.
On 24-Hour Fitness filing for bankruptcy
Of course, not all businesses are reopening. That includes 24-Hour Fitness. The gym filed for bankruptcy this week and said it’s closing more than 130 clubs, including a gym in Carmichael. There was some speculation that we were reaching a saturation point for gyms, even before they had to close temporarily due to the coronavirus. In recent years, we've seen growth from low-cost gyms and high-end boutique fitness concepts. Gyms that are in the middle might be in trouble. This decision leaves a couple questions for the local real estate scene. For starters, 24 Hour Fitness had at least two new sites planned in the Sacramento area before the pandemic. It's unclear what'll happen with those locations, which were planned for Roseville and Natomas. You also have to wonder if we'll see more gym closures, even though fitness facilities are now allowed to reopen.
On the rise in late rent payments
Research from a software company for apartment landlords and property managers suggests that plenty of apartment residents in the Sacramento area are still having trouble paying rent. That company's data suggests that more than one in five local apartment residents were late on June rent. This could mean that businesses are reopening but not quickly enough. With businesses operating at reduced capacity, it's possible people are working reduced hours, or maybe their positions have even been eliminated entirely.
On what lies ahead for music concerts
Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln announced this week that it will resume concerts in late August. The resort has shows lined up for its outdoor amphitheater. Two acts are scheduled – singer Billy Idol and comedian Trevor Noah. The rap artist Pitbull is also scheduled to appear at the venue in September.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
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