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Outlooks call for personal and economic comebacks in 2021

Francesca's store on State St. in Santa Barbara is closing and at least four vacancies will be available in the 700 block to start 2021. (Photo: John Palminteri)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After the stunning economic slowdown in many sectors in the past eight months, economists say 2021 will have a comeback once the coronavirus is controlled.

One strong area was the housing market which had a solid upturn and many cash buyers unlike the South Coast has ever seen, according to many local realtors. It was a big savior in a year with a economic collapse at many turns.

Employees working from home have also decided to find a place they want to live rather than a place they have to live. In some cases that means out of the city living spaces and into more open areas.

Business changes are looming in many areas.

In Santa Barbara downtown Jeannine's Bakery-Restaurant has closed on Figueroa Street The other locations remain open.

Chocolats du CaliBressan State Street is closing. The Carpinteria store and factory remain open.

Franchesca designs on State Street at Paseo Nuevo mall is closing out merchandise this week and is leaving.

Nearby the closed Personna Pizza is reopening with new owners and has an outside patio seating area ready when that's approved.

Businesses than have closed during the pandemic without reopening include the Cajun Kitchen on De la Vina. Earlier this year Enterprise Fish at the waterfront closed for good.

The longtime Fosters Freeze in Carpinteria sold to a farm to fork restaurant concept with a 2021 opening expected. The landmark Palms restaurant has not reopened since the pandemic hit, but no announcement on the future of the site has been made.

Many of those on the sidelines due to job layoffs and cutbacks are looking forward to new opportunities in the economy ahead. In the meantime, unemployment assistance and stimulus money will help to pay their bills between job assignments.

"It's tough right now  but t they are looking for the  rainbow at the end of the year and we are going to pull out this," said Ventura resident Gian Morehead. He has a job with a school district but knows many people who are struggling.

Nurse practitioners and home health care services are two areas where new jobs are expected to increase.

The travel and tourism is expected to be slower to recover but plans are in place to see more airline, train and possibly cruise ship bookings, once the public has been assured of safety protocols. Several cruise ships are at the Port of Los Angeles this week for cleaning and other servicing.

"I'm going to visit  my daughter in Ohio that's my plan,  " said Orcutt resident Adela Klotthor "Definitely ready to get  on  the road or on a plane but I'm waiting for a vaccine. I want to be smart."

Catrin Jassynbayev was visiting from the Bay area. "I want to go to Paris like really badly and like  London."

Cabinet maker Chris Rizzi said the housing market is good for him in many ways. "In my world anything tied to real estate is through the roof right now . We had our best year of business in 35 years this last year."

If there is going to be new normal it will be in the way people work either at home, in the officer, or remotely another way, such as shared work spaces.

Santa Barbara businessman Joel Heath said, " I think health and wellness will be a big part going forward  but I think we will all go back to a little bit of social atmosphere."

That includes dining out or getting together in small groups to start.

UCLA's Anderson Economic Forecast says after the COVID winter months, there's an opportunity for solid growth. In the present time, the report says, conditions could get dire. Social assistance programs are helping but are not certain for a specific timeline.

Article Topic Follows: Money and Business

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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