Some Fresno Businesses Turn To The Web To Keep Services Going, Despite Being 'Non-Essential'

Mar 19, 2020

As residents and business owners take on the city of Fresno’s “shelter in place” recommendation, which went into effect Thursday, many are turning to the web to keep their services going. 

The city released a list of “Essential” and “Non-Essential” businesses. Officials are advising residents to cease trips to non-essential businesses, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Grocery and hardware stores made the “Essential” list, but bars and hair salons did not. 

In response, Full Circle Brewing Company in Fresno’s Chinatown launched a new delivery service: “Full Circle 2 Go.”

“It did not exist a month ago,” CEO Arthur Moye said. Beer deliveries were something he knew was possible, but, “it was on the backburner until the necessity arose.” While customers can’t hang out at Full Circle’s two locations, patrons can still pick up beer, or have it delivered. One downside to the limited service, Moye said, is the company has cut back on employee hours.

Fitness centers are also on the “non-essential” list. To help its patrons continue to create endorphins, Tower Yoga has begun streaming classes online

Jameson Henkle is the part-owner and studio manager for the Fresno yoga studio. Its classes ended Monday, and the studio began posting videos on Tuesday. “We’re still in the studio daily, filming and recording these videos, but they’re available for everyone for free,” said Henkle. 

He said the videos are a way to maintain physical health, and added, “Yoga practiced at home is one source of helping to maintain a strong mind, and a strong heart, and a strong body.” 

One hallmark of the Tower Yoga studio are classes where the room is heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit to help with flexibility and movement. While warming up one’s home may not be a comparable option, Henkle said that hot yoga enthusiasts can still “build heat from the inside out through a dedicated practice.” For some, that may be a power yoga class, or for others it might be a restorative class. “The heat will still be here once we all leave our homes,” he said.

The city’s shelter-in-place order is advised until March 31, but it could be extended.

Leanna Beal, a hair stylist in Fresno said that fear of the virus prompted some to cancel their appointments even before the emergency order. “As a 20-something, this is the strangest thing that’s ever happened in my life,” she said. 

Beal styles hair at Ulta, a store owned by a corporation that closed all of its U.S. locations until March 31. 

But Beal says working at a corporate entity differs from other stylists she knows, who are paid per service. “Some of my friends are in this position where they’re living paycheck to paycheck, and obviously this isn’t ideal,” Beal said. 

In the meantime, she suggests that if clients can afford it, they could offer to pay their stylist in advance. “I see clients every four to six weeks and you get to really know them,” she said. “And if they’re planning on returning, it’s not a big deal.”

In a press conference today, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand encouraged residents to stay safe, and do what they can to “flatten the curve,” referring to graphs that have charted the exponentially rising number of COVID-19 cases.