Proprietors Face Challenging Times If COVID-19 Persists

by Bob Johnson 0

As is the case with small businesses of many types, simply being able to reopen won’t necessarily equate with success, especially if there are government-mandated restrictions in place that limit capacity.

Bob Ansara, who has been operating the iconic Ricardo’s Mexican Restaurant in Las Vegas for four decades, has made the decision to close down, even though he says he figures he has “another 10 good years” in him.

Like many other restaurants in town, Ricardo’s has been operating on a take-out-only basis since Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak shut down the state. Ansara had to reduce his staff from 67 to four to make even that work.

“But that’s really a Band-Aid,” Ansara told Heidi Knapp Rinella of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I just don’t see a clear path forward. When you take into consideration the hurt of the last two months and what it’s going to take to regenerate the business, and when I look ahead to the next 18 months and see what those months will be like…”

Restaurants in Las Vegas and elsewhere around the country will not be able to operate anywhere close to full capacity when they reopen, at least for a while. Bowling centers, in many cases, will be in the same boat. And that could be devastating, Ansara said.

“In many cases, those restrictions will be worse than being closed,” he said. “While I think they’re all well-intentioned, I think they pretty much spell disaster for small businesses.”

The best hope for small businesses of all kinds will be for the COVID-19 virus to make a hasty retreat.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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