SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Cinco De Mayo was anything but normal for Cantina Alley Tuesday, while customers lining outside their restaurant is familiar, the social distancing, covered faces, and food and drinks to-go, are new for Oscar Escovar and his crew who usually are serving a packed room.
“It is a different year, it calls for a different celebration. This time we are doing virtually and we are doing the best out of it and we are encouraging people to stay home,” Manager Oscar Escovar explained.
Last year the restaurant served 5,000 people. This year, they are taking the party online by live-streaming a concert to customers.
“Whatever restaurants can do to also implement those safeguards is really important, while keeping the celebration alive,” said customer Alexa Valencia.
The cantina only brought in a few hundred customers, not even half of the 5,000 customers they saw last year at the same time.
“It’s going to hurt. This is a big day, they cover payroll, they cover rent, they cover a lot of other expenses that come from this one day,” said Cathy Rodriguez Aguirre, President and CEO Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Latino businesses make up 15 to 20% of the Sacramento region, according to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“What this whole pandemic has actually shown is things that we’re already there and it has just magnified it,” Rodriguez Aguirre explained.
According to the Chamber’s president, many Latino businesses have not received any economic relief during the pandemic.
“We need to really be valuing the demographic here, investing in the workforce and investing in the entrepreneurship and making sure that the access to opportunities, the access to equity is happening,” she said.
Despite smaller numbers, Cantina Alley says any business is essential to keeping the business alive.
“We are a small business, family-owned and operated. Definitely we rely on Sacramento to stay in business,” said Escovar.