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Business Viability & Stay at Home Order Comments | City Council Meeting 12.10.20

Business Viability & Stay at Home Order Comments | City Council Meeting 12.10.20

Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Public Comments – City Council Meeting December 10, 2020

Agenda 01 – Business Viability and the Governor’s New Stay at Home Order

On December 3, the Acting State Public Health Officer of the State of California issued a Regional Stay at Home Order that went into effect December 5 at 12:59pm. This order was issued as an aggressive action deemed necessary to respond to the escalating COVID-19 public health crisis. The terms of this order are intended to remain in place for at least three weeks from the initial date of the order and may continue based on future developments.

I share this background to remind you of the context for the issue in front of you tonight. Our local business community has been affected in a variety of ways throughout the pandemic and yet has remained strong and resilient as each previous precaution and order was released and complied with. Our City exhibited great leadership to provide resources to help our business community endure the waves of changes experienced the past nine months.

The Chamber of Commerce would like to offer 3 recommendations as you consider any action or direction to take this evening to address the new state order:

First - Retain “parklets” as Outdoor Right of Ways for Public Use

Earlier this summer you invested in the infrastructure that created parklets downtown to be used for outdoor dining in order to comply with orders in place at that time. Although the current order says that outdoor dining is not allowed, we’dlike to see the parklets remain for use by patrons. Restaurants would not be providing organized table service and perhaps the City could provide monitoring staff to keep the areas clean and trash-free.

Second - Earlier in November you supported efforts the Paso Robles Police Department would undertake in partnership with the Chamber, once a formal complaint has been made, to encourage businesses to comply with orders issued from the state at that time. We encourage you to continue to support this ongoing effort. As a reminder, this effort entails three steps: A first complaint of violation receives outreach from the Chamber to educate the business on requirements of the order. A second complaint receives outreach from the Chamber and the City’s Code Enforcement Officer with education and a warning. A third complaint is issued a citation for non-compliance.

Third - We support the proposed concept by Chief Lewis that creates an appeal process for citations through the formation of a peer-based review panel. We would like to work with Chief Lewis to further define this concept.

We encourage the City to support these three requests as short-term decisions with the ability to adapt to anticipated changes still to come.

Additionally, we would like the City to continue working with neighboring cities and county authorities to submit ongoing communication to the Governor’s office requesting moving the Central Coast out of the Southern California Region and create a region more in-line with our actual public health resources.

Our business community is fatigued – employees are anxious and concerned about their employment status and business owners are reaching indescribable levels of stress. We appreciate the City’s interest in assisting our local businesses and providing support where needed. We commit to continue working with you and City staff to address these needs.

Thank you for your consideration.

-Gina Fitzpatrick
Chamber of Commerce CEO

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