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Restaurant, retail employees could face layoffs, reduced hours amid new stay-at-home order

"My hours will be reduced down significantly. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to accumulate my rent," said retail worker Ida Torres.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Starting at midnight Monday, all outdoor dining will be temporarily banned in San Diego. Hair salons and personal care services will no longer be allowed to operate.

Travel is prohibited except essential activities. 

The state's new stay-at-home order will last for the next three weeks. It means some employees will be out of work for the holidays.

"We've all been going through this for quite a while now, it wasn't that shocking," said bartender Clint Martin. "I saw it coming. The numbers are rising."

Martin works as a bartender at Queenstown Public House in Little Italy. Though he said he's one of the lucky ones who will keep his job, he said his hours will be cut. 

"I think that obviously people would prefer to be working, and it is scary going back on unemployment, but at the same time we also have to make sure everyone is safe," he said.

According to the county and the state, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased dramatically recently. Governor Gavin Newsom said implementing this stay-at-home order for regions with an ICU capacity below 15 percent is necessary to curb the spread and ensure hospitals aren't overwhelmed. 

"We have to fight through the fatigue," said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher during a news conference Saturday. "Covid-19 is real and is as deadly as it was in March and we have to summon that sense of community that brought us together in the early days."

According to the Employment Development Department (EDD), the unemployment rate in San Diego hit 7.7 percent in October, down significantly from 16 percent in May. Locally, organizations like the San Diego Workforce Partnership are trying to help people find employment.

But for retail workers like Ida Torres --the future feels uncertain. 

"My hours will be reduced down significantly. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to accumulate my rent," said Torres. This month is paid for but next month is not going to be met."

Torres said she worries about paying for child care, and even putting food on the table.

"I don't know what's going to happen next month," she said.

For some struggling to make ends met, if Congress doesn't act, unemployment benefits could run out this month.

Martin is just doing his best to remain optimistic.

"As far as unemployment running out, I don't really know how that's going to work out, just trying to take it a day at a time," he said.

"Just get out there and support small businesses, we really need it right now," he added.