A survey sent out last week by the Trinity County Chamber of Commerce offered some interesting data regarding how local businesses have been affected by the state’s stay at home orders and how many were able to find financial assistance to weather the virus.
Chamber President Kelli Gant said 107 emails were sent out last Tuesday, and as of Monday, about 31 had come back. The results are inconclusive, since many respondents only answered some questions and left others blank. The survey touched on many aspects of local business, including lodging, retail, nonprofits, media, food service, recreational, rentals, construction, professional services, bars and taverns and even the county fair.
As to the question of whether each would be reopening or was still open, 23 said yes while three said no.
Ripple Creek Cabins said it was unsure at present.
“We are not sure if the County is allowing us to have guests other than Trinity County residents at this time,” its response said. “We get maybe three Trinity County guests a year. The County is not giving us a definite answer whether or not it is OK to have guests from out of area. We are getting many calls for cabin rentals but we really do not know if we should book new reservations and do not know what to tell guests with existing summer reservations.”
Trinity Alps resort owner Margo Gray said she plans to reopen as soon as she is allowed.
Redwoods and Rivers rafting outfitters responded that while they plan to reopen, it may not happen this summer and explained why.
“Eventually yes, we will reopen, but probably not in 2020. We operate seasonally. Our main money-making period is June-August with important shoulder months of April and May. We have effectively lost a 3rd of our season and the prospects for the remainder are grim,” it responded. “We are daily evaluating startup cost versus potential income. Startup cost are not inconsequential and full mitigation expense for resuming business cannot be fully determined yet. When you include purchasing the necessary equipment and supplies to meet COVID-19 reopening requirements, and you add a mandatory reduction in the number of clients we can serve the chances of making a sustainable income seems doubtful.”
Trinity County Fairgrounds said while the 99th annual county fair, scheduled for July 31-Aug. 2, is not canceled, it’s hoped that restrictions will be lifted by the end of July.
The Diggin’s responded only that it was not open and had not applied for state or federal funding.
A little help
Three funding sources were mentioned, the Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and Small Business Administration funding. Of the respondents, 20 said they had applied for assistance, while nine had not.
Mountain Communities Healthcare District reported that while it was open, it applied for PPP funding, which it received. Others who applied and were granted PPP funding were Strawhouse Resorts, The Trinity Journal, Lewiston Valley Motel, Del Loma RV Park, Ripple Creek Cabins, Mountain Valley Grill, Trinity Alps Resort, Trinity River Rafting, Nugget Restaurant and Tammies Books.
Gray said she got her application in promptly and was amazed at how quickly she received PPP funding.
When it came to unsuccessful funding applications, Scott Watkins of Buildaberg, a design, planning and construction firm, said he was “experiencing application Groundhog Day.” Aviva Doshay, of Almay Ranch said PPP funding was denied. Jennifer Glavaz of Trailhead Pizza, said that while they did not qualify for PPP and had not heard from SBA, it received a small amount of EIDL money. Almay Ranch reported bank account issues kept them from receiving PPP funds.
A little hope
Gant said by email that some local lodging providers may have been violating rules by hosting travelers but added that it’s difficult to determine which are essential travelers and which are leisure travelers.
She also felt county businesses would survive the economic impacts.
“Personally I think that our businesses are going to weather better than most regions because the virus hit during our traditional low season,” she wrote. “So the revenue loss wasn’t like hotels and restaurants that depend on year-round revenue, such as Shasta.”
Further survey results are pending, as no deadline for response was indicated.