Carlsbad Village Business Scene Shifts as a Result of COVID-19 Restrictions

Jacob Fletcher , Staff Reporter

With unprecedented times, comes widespread business struggles and debates like never seen before. Since March, COVID-19 has been sweeping across the nation and wreaking havoc on populated cities and dense suburbs. In the name of safety, officials have imposed regulations on restaurants, stores, and public spaces, consequently affecting their traffic and popularity.

Carlsbad Village and nearby beaches remain popular despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Coastal areas of the city, as well as beaches have been hotspots for those seeking to stay outside during lockdown since beaches have, for the most part, remained open with little restrictions. (Photo by Jacob Fletcher)

Carlsbad Village, the popular district of the city famous for pristine beaches and cherished restaurants, is impacted by this crisis more than many of Carlsbad’s other localities. Predominant tourism in this part of town continues to raise the stakes when making important decisions regarding businesses’ ability to operate.

Due to these problems, businesses have had to creatively adapt to regulations and safety issues. Some popular restaurants have cleverly converted to being take-out exclusively or taken advantage of parking or patios to create outside seating. 

Campfire’s outdoor seating space has been utilized significantly more since the start of COVID due to seating restrictions and safety concerns. After reopening after the first peek of the pandemic, Campfire has maximized their dining space to accommodate for as many customers as safe. (Photo by Jacob Fletcher)

One business that exemplifies an efficient adaptive system, sitting in the middle of the village on State Street, is Campfire. They have made an effort to seamlessly convert their environment to a safe one while emphasizing the struggle and need for community support.

“And so, it’s time to open our doors once more,” Campfire said, publicly. “Things may be a little different, sure. We will have a new and smaller menu, we won’t have as many tables, and our smiles will be hidden behind masks. But, our smiles will be there. We will be there, and we hope you will be there.”

In addition to the struggles businesses face, customers also must adjust to the new normal of eating out and shopping. Many who find it essential to spend their money anticipate crowded rooms, inconvenient safety protocols, or finding that their favorite shop has been failing. Deatherage, a sophomore at Sage Creek, states that COVID-19 has affected his family’s eating choices.

Viggilucci’s, a Carlsbad Village fine-dining icon, takes advantage of their outside dining space that, since COVID-19, has inspired neighboring businesses to expand seating. Recently, Vigilccis has been a comparatively popular location due to its nice, integrated seating in the heart of the Village. (Photo by Jacob Fletcher)

“Some businesses have changed, there was a local bagel shop that recently changed ownership [due to] the inability to open and serve to customers,” Finn said. “Before quarantine, my family would eat out a few nights a week. During the first few months, we had to make meals at home.”

While businesses have some creative freedom in deciding how to reopen, they also seek counsel and guidance from local and state governments. Executive actions have brought extensive criticism to officials, as many constituents and activists have conflicting priorities.

Many believe reopening and preserving Carlsbad’s flourishing economy is essential, while others argue that safety is of the utmost concern. Businesses and legislators must hold the weight of this argument and find the sweet spot in the middle. Another Sage sophomore, Erin Yoon, shares her thoughts about the government’s treatment of the virus, believing in a safe approach to reopening.

“I think that Carlsbad/California has not handled the COVID situation well and I think that they shouldn’t open elementary schools[and]restaurants so soon,” Yoon said.

Overall, the stakes are high for those who must decide when and where to eat, how to reopen their business, or how to guide concerned citizens. COVID-19 has strongly impacted many industries students are passionate about, shifting the lifestyles of employees, entrepreneurs, and customers alike.