Following Governor Newsom’s order to temporarily close indoor dining and operations for restaurants in 19 counties less than a month after allowing them to reopen, the Culver City Chamber joined the California Coalition for Safe Re-Opening, a coalition of Chambers of Commerce and business associations throughout the state. The coalition came together to formulate proposals for reopening California businesses in a logical and methodical manner that maintains the safety and health of customers, workers and the public. Building on previous efforts, the coalition proposed a Three Point Economic and Public Health Recovery Plan – immediate measures that should be considered prior to any more business shutdowns.
Those measures include:
1.) Require the State to use emergency funds to supplement funding for county health departments and enforcement divisions that oversee adherence to reopening regulations. That would include authorizing counties to grant immediate reopening for all restaurants and bars that demonstrate compliance with that county’s reopening regulations, in accordance with state regulations.
2.) The creation of a California COVID-19 Emergency Business Interruption Fund to provide grants to businesses to cover expenses related to safe reopening in June 2020, as well as all losses including displaced revenue related to the July 1st closure order and future unanticipated closures.
3.) Creation of a Safe Re-Opening Task Force which would work directly with state and local officials in the implementation of Mandatory Testing and creation of Recovery Centers as the dual alternative to shutting down segments of the economy.
The Coalition emerged over the last few months through unprecedented dialogue among local businesses, organizations and chambers throughout California, and their members, who, while understanding the necessity of closure orders in March, are frustrated with the lack of coordination of re-openings and the haphazard recent closure orders. The Coalition urges local and county governments to support the effort to promote safe, organized, methodical and long-term reopening schedules.
The Coalition believes that safe re-openings and customer confidence are undermined by the most-recent closure orders issued by Governor Newsom. Businesses require stability and predictability, and the public needs confidence and certainty. Simply put, the economy cannot survive in an environment of “open one month, close it down the next month”, which is a dangerous precedence that threatens to impact all businesses under the guise of the “New Normal”.
Colin Diaz, President and CEO of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Westside Council of Chambers of Commerce (WC3) and co-founder of the Coalition drives this point home, “We understand that there are bad actors in the business, as there are with some individuals. These businesses should be held responsible for their actions and neglect. But, this sweeping policy that punishes the responsible business owners, many of whom have spent small fortunes bringing their businesses up to an extremely safe environment, further creates hardship and will continue to have drastic consequences beyond what we have already seen. We will lose a great deal of our small businesses with every round of closures that our government imposes on the business community.”
In the proposed plan, business returns with COVID-19-related protection practices in place, including enhanced cleaning procedures, distancing, and safe service protocols. Government must invest in resources necessary to ensure that County Health measures are being adhered to. There must be adequate access to regular COVID-19 testing and the state must pass Legislation to fund the California COVID-19 Emergency Business Interruption Fund to cover losses related to all government and health department orders including forced closures, social distancing requirements, and gathering limits.
“Elected officials at every level in our state need to understand that the health and safety of employees and customers is paramount to any responsible business owner,” said Genevieve Morrill, President and CEO for the West Hollywood Chamber. “They also need to know how tenuous the existence of almost every business in the state of California is right now.”
Culver City Chamber of Commerce