Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer – the leading candidate to recall Gavin Newsom – joined Chef Andrew Gruel at his Slapfish restaurant in Huntington Beach to unveil Save California Restaurants plan for California dining establishments impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
“At the start of the pandemic, our state led the nation in number of restaurants closed. Unfortunately, tens of thousands have closed for good,” said Faulconer. “Jobs are gone, dreams have been crushed, and our communities where many of these restaurants have been institutions, are left emptier as a result. Those who survived had to deal with regulations that were confusing, contradictory – and at many times not based on science. As Governor, I will enact the Save California Restaurants plan to help our restaurants recover – and support the hundreds of thousands of people they employ.”
“California’s restaurants have been decimated by the COVID-19 crisis. People are losing their jobs, their businesses, their entire life’s work because of unscientific regulations,” said Chef Gruel, “It’s time to reopen restaurants now and get this industry back to being the envy of the world. We’ve worked to come up with a plan that offers real world solutions, not just empty platitudes, so we can help restaurants across California.”
While these policies benefit California restaurants, their workers, and patrons, many aspects of the plan would also benefit small businesses across the spectrum in California. The details of the plan are as follows:
1. Allow restaurants to fully re-open right now without COVID capacity limits by eliminating state emergency orders on business capacity limits.
2. Establish Small Restaurant Relief Fund for any restaurant whose 2020 sales were less than 2019 sales can be eligible for up to $20,000 in grant money in addition to existing state relief grants.
3. Ensure tax deductions for COVID-related purchases such as (but not limited to): PPE, plexiglass, outdoor heaters, outdoor patio construction, COVID testing, credit applied to future sales and use tax bills.
4. Protect small businesses from COVID-related lawsuits with a liability shield for small businesses who made good-faith efforts to comply with COVID restrictions. Small and family restaurants are vulnerable to COVID-related lawsuits that could put them out of business. Without the resources to defend themselves, legal liability could be the final blow to many restaurants.
5. Create a tax credit for universal paid sick time that employers can access to cover wages for sick employees up to 5 days. If an employee tests positive for coronavirus, the business can receive a payroll tax credit from the state to pay the employee for up to 5 days so they do not come to work while sick.
6. Establish a local coronavirus taskforce within health departments, led by business owners and supported by data. Under this model, the task force will act as a resource to help ensure restaurants achieve high marks when it comes to COVID safety.
7. Prohibit state and county agencies from revoking licenses from small businesses owners for good-faith violations of COVID-19 orders. Requires Legislation if it Applies to Counties.
8. Allow to-go alcohol to continue for licensed restaurants. Requires Legislation to Make Permanent (Currently under an Emergency Regulation).
9. Support lower-cost delivery services for restaurants by calling on delivery service operators to charge lower fees to small businesses. This allows businesses to avoid the exorbitant 30% fees demanded by almost all delivery platforms.