SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 4, 2020—From John Kabateck, California state director for NFIB, the state’s largest small-business association, in reaction to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order for regions with less than a 15 percent ICU availability. The order takes effect tomorrow.“Removing 80% of a small retailer’s customer capacity is as good as shutting them down completely”
“We recognize the mammoth challenge every governor in America is facing as they attempt to balance the needs of public health and the needs of their state’s economy. None of them could have predicted or prevented a crisis without precedent. However, in the nine months since it began, here in the Golden State, some lessons should have been learned.
“One of those lessons is that families and social gatherings are driving the increases in COVID-19 cases—not small businesses. I know of no equivalent initiative in California, but Colorado conducted 204 inspections of businesses for COVID-19 compliance over the Thanksgiving holiday and issued only two suspensions of operation. Small businesses are safe places to shop and to work for, because small-business owners have always been the central pillar holding up every community in the nation. They are looked up to and they lead by example. They need not be coaxed into doing the right thing, they do it by nature.
“We commend the governor and his team for their recently announced small-business loan program and for their delaying remittance to the state of sales taxes already collected by small-business owners, which will provide many with timely liquidity to meet other obligations.
“We appreciate his latest order allowing retail establishments to operate at 20% customer capacity, but it’s important to note that 20% has a much different effect on small family businesses than on big-box corporate retailers. Removing 80% of a small retailer’s customer capacity is as good as shutting them down completely. As the Voice of Small Business, we want to see the science that says retail commerce is the cause of the COVID surge, and we urge our leaders to reopen Main Street so businesses are thriving and Californians are earning a paycheck once again.
“While the governor’s recent announcement of business assistance is appreciated, small one-time grants and delayed tax payments only extend the hurt that small business will experience in the coming months. A full opening of small retail establishments with safety guidelines in place is a much better solution in our opinion, especially during this crucial holiday shopping period.”