Majority of Local Businesses Shut Down By the Coronavirus Emergency

As Malibu restaurants make the shift from traditional, in-person dining to delivery and take-out driven sales, many are feeling the financial crunch. Around Malibu, signs have sprung up advertising local eateries are open for business, catering exclusively for take-out during the COVID-19 crisis.

On Thursday, March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state’s new “Safer at Home” order. Only “essential businesses,” which include grocery stores, farmers markets, convenience stores, pharmacies, healthcare providers, news outlets, banks, liquor stores, cannabis dispensaries, pet supply stores and laundromats are allowed to remain open.

In addition, businesses involved in construction and other “essential infrastructure” such as plumbers, electricians, gas stations, auto repair shops and hardware stores are exempt. Public transportation and utilities will continue to provide service.

Most all other businesses are now closed to the public, although restaurants are allowed to provide take-out and delivery food.

In Malibu, problems raised by the shutdown are compounded by the fact that many local businesses still hadn’t fully recovered from reduced incomes after the Woolsey Fire of November 2018.

In a dire prediction for the restaurant business three days ago, the New York Times reported, “Restaurant analysts and operators have been quoting an estimate that 75 percent of the independent restaurants that have been closed to protect Americans from the coronavirus won’t make it.” The article stated restaurant trade groups will be strongly lobbying government for financial help and that individual restaurants elsewhere have already started suing their insurance companies to get their business-interruption policies to cover the current closing.

Employees who are now out of a job because of these closures may immediately apply for state unemployment benefits.

Pavilions and Ralphs are both hiring as a result of the coronavirus emergency in order to keep the shelves stocked up. Both are asking interested people to apply online or go to the local store.

During a visit to Malibu’s Ralphs on Monday, employees were busy wiping down grocery carts with disinfectant before putting them back into the return corral. They were also busy wiping down everything in the store. The butcher spent 30 seconds washing his hands with soap and water before waiting on each customer.

CVS announced it would deliver prescriptions and “everyday essentials” for free from March 9 to May 1, 2020. For prescription delivery, call the pharmacy; for other goods, order online from

Strange Family Wines had a tasting room in Malibu Lumber Yard that had to close as a result of the governor’s order. It is now offering a 20 percent discount on all online orders (use the code: HOMEBOUND), free delivery and virtual Wine Wednesdays, where people can sign up to safely toast and join the online party (details at

M. Fredric clothing store sent an email to its customers announcing it would be closed until further notice as of March 21 and was discontinuing any online orders until the store re-opens. Online orders pending at the time of the announcement will to get refunds.

As of Saturday, the windows and front door of the Sephora cosmetics retail store were being boarded up. When one of the workers was asked why, he said, “We’re boarding up the windows in case people get crazy and start rioting or something.”

The dry cleaning establishments in the Malibu Village and elsewhere in town were still open as of Sunday as well.

First Bank delineated the six-foot social distancing requirement with blue tape on the ground around its outdoor ATM.

Across the street at Malibu Country Mart, the playground area and picnic tables were marked as completely off limits with yellow caution tape and orange plastic fencing. A new sign in front of the shopping center advised that restaurants there were open for take-out.

Dume Plaza Pharmacy was having customers wait at the front door to pick up their prescriptions.

Talley Hutcherson, who owns a small business taking people on local trail rides, said her business is completely shut down because of the coronavirus emergency. She has 10 horses to feed and no savings to fall back on after being affected by the Woolsey Fire for many months. She’s asking for help and has a nonprofit for donations—

Nick Rogers at Kristy’s restaurant in Trancas Country Market said the restaurant was “surviving” with take-out, but admitted it doesn’t generate as much business as when Kristy’s was operating a dine-in service.

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