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Citrus Heights business owners ‘in limbo’ awaiting end to virus shutdowns

Steve Dismukes stands outside his Corner Pocket Sports Bar in Citrus Heights. // CH Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
Steve Dismukes, owner of Corner Pocket Sports Bar in Citrus Heights, used to look forward to March being his highest income month each year — until this year, when his business shut its doors in mid-March following statewide orders for businesses deemed “non-essential” to close during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Things are completely in limbo,” Dismukes told The Sentinel after hearing an update from the governor on Wednesday. “There are several difficult decisions multiple business owners need to make and we don’t even have a good guess on when we’re going to be able to be open.”

Dismukes said in an earlier interview last week he was hoping to be able to at least partially re-open on May 1, when shelter-in-place orders were set to expire. On Wednesday, however, Sacramento County extended its shelter-in-place order by another three weeks.

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After Wednesday’s order, Dismukes said he’s now “guessing we won’t be open until June or July, but that’s only a guess.” He said the unknown re-opening date is what makes things the most difficult.

“Obviously we understand the virus comes first, but it’s just hard not knowing (when we can reopen),” said Dismukes, noting that he’s already lost some good employees who were able to get jobs elsewhere at businesses that remain open.

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While many businesses have been able to continue to operate, others remain shut down, like Gold’s Gym on Auburn Boulevard, which closed its doors in March. Earlier this month, the gym’s general manager, David McCall, posted an update on social media saying the gym is preparing for reopening, but is waiting for permission to do so.

“We cannot wait to reopen the gym,” he wrote.

Dismukes, who’s owned Corner Pocket Sports Bar for nearly two decades, said even when he’s finally able to reopen, he knows it won’t be “business as usual.” He’s already planning to operate with reduced occupancy, temperature checks of patrons, additional sanitary measures, and face masks for employees.

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