Small Businesses: COVID-19 Pandemic is ‘Definitely a Huge Strain’



Tarantula Hill Brewing Co. delivers pizzas to staff at Los Robles Hospital Sunday April 5, as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aaron Rohrer, Reporter

Local Thousand Oaks businesses are impacted in a variety of ways by COVID-19-related federal and state regulations that are evolving daily. Under the statewide stay-at-home order in effect in California, businesses have limited their hours and adapted operations, while others have dimmed their neon “open” signs, ceasing operations for the foreseeable future.

“Everyone is trying to do the best they can,” Ali Zia, CEO of Tarantula Hill Brewing Company, said. “To an extent it’s an opportunity to kind of get creative and think outside the box and consider things [we] might not have before.”

Zia said they will keep their doors open, offering craft beer and food-to-go. Other restaurants have also improved their take-out and delivery options in order to stay afloat financially and continue to provide for the community. 

The Tipsy Goat, a Thousand Oaks Irish Pub had to shut down completely according to the owner, Danika Smith.
“Delivery has never been a large part of our business and it does not make financial sense to keep a staff on for delivery only,” Smith said in an email interview. “We are lucky enough financially to be able to withstand the loss of revenue for now.”

On March 31, Thousand Oaks City Council adopted a new resolution authorizing temporary moratoriums which regard specific water utility bills, business license fees and property damage. 

Working out the logistics of business operations during this health emergency is a new territory for many Thousand Oaks businesses. 

Permission to keep businesses’ doors open does not come without extreme challenges. 

“We will be applying for the new PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] loan to help pay our employees through this crisis but it is a drop in the bucket compared to what they usually make in tips,” Smith said. “We are trying to help as much as possible but it is definitely a huge strain on us all.” 

Tarantula Hill is still focused on “getting our beer in people’s hands,” as they continue to can beers and offer take-home growlers. Zia is optimistic and hopes to soon see a future in which normalcy is once again returned for the brewery and Thousand Oaks community. 

Tarantula Hill is doing what they can to make things easier on everybody, especially those on the front lines, as they are participating in a communitywide program to deliver free pizza to local healthcare workers. 

Other open businesses are working to ensure they adhere to social distancing guidelines as they continue their operations.

Both Longevity Coffee and Grabbagreen Food + Juice on Thousand Oaks Boulevard remain open for either pickup or delivery. Most local restaurants and shops are frequently updating their social media accounts with changing hours and operations. 

The City of Thousand Oaks is currently identifying and compiling a list of restaurants in the Greater Conejo Valley that are still open via take-out and delivery service. The city is also working to identify non-restaurants deemed essential businesses that are currently open to the public. This includes hardware stores, gas stations, auto-repair shops, pet stores and other facilities required to sustain daily function. 

According to an economic development update from the city, select new businesses have received final approvals to open for business, but it is noted that some may not yet be open to the public at this time. Some of these businesses include Pedals and Pints Brewing Company, Grabbagreen and F45 Training.