By Rachel Wulff

WOODLAND (CBS13) — The state has made it harder for businesses to operate with the more restrictive purple tier designation, but city leaders are doing what they can across our area to help financially as we head into the colder holiday season.

In downtown Woodland not only is there less car traffic, but there is also less foot traffic.

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“Now is the busy time of the day and we are almost empty,” said Rudy Peniche.

Peniche runs Las Brasas. About a month ago he opened Main Street Lounge Roast and Vine across the street.

“We got excited because people supported us and now to start with the purple again. We lost 80 percent of the business,” Peniche said.

The reopening reversal has hit restaurants hard. A downgrade to purple means no indoor dining and retailers are back operating at reduced capacity. Peniche is doing what he can.

“We take temperatures on our employees. We do everything to keep our place safe,” he said.

Now the city of Woodland is doing what it can through a new grant program that is offering $235,000 to businesses affected by the pandemic. Those with 20 employees or less are eligible for up to $10,000 assistance. They can also apply for $10,000 for reimbursement of expenses associated with winterizing outdoor operations.

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“This was expensive,” said Pat Redmond as he showed us his outdoor dining area along Main Street.

Redmond at nearby Father Paddy’s Irish pub will try to get his money back after investing in an elaborate outdoor dining space.

“Protective barriers, wood around that, steel over the top so we can have heaters,” he explained.

Peniche says he will apply as well to expand outdoors, weathering the financial storm while scientists figure out a vaccine. Because as this goes into 2021 the impact is big for small businesses.

“I have almost 20 employees at Las Brasas. They have families, kids, they pay rent. We have another 12 employees at the lounge. Together it’s like 30 families affected by this,” Peniche said.

Applications are due by Nov 30. The funding for the program is provided through Yolo County as part of their federal CARES Act allocation.

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