Small businesses across the country have endured shutdowns that sometimes seem like a sudden outbreak as the coronavirus itself increases. Restaurants, gyms, corner stores and spas have closed, some after trying to hold onto them for months.
The pain in California has become serious. Nearly 40,000 small businesses closed in the state in September – more than any other state since the pandemic began, according to a report compiled by Yelp. Half were permanently closed, reportedly, far more than the 6,400 that closed permanently in New York.
The few pandemic options that Newsom faces are easy. California has been hit hard by Covid-19, with more than 3.5 million illnesses and 47,000 deaths. Los Angeles County, one of the places most affected by the recent viral outbreak, has more than 1.2 million illnesses and 19,000 deaths.
Dan Newman, a political strategist with Mr. Newsom, said the governor is focusing on coronavirus vaccination and reopening the state. Mr. Newman blamed “national and state GOP parties” for supporting “this Republican withdrawal plan in the hopes of creating a costly, distracting and destructive circus”.
Acknowledging that the pandemic has “hit our small businesses heavily,” the Governor’s Office of Economic and Business Development, Dee Dee Myers, points out some state programs that provide provide assistance to them. These include California’s Covid-19 Small Business Grant Program, California Rebuild Fund and Main Street Rental Tax Credit.
Ronna McDaniel, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement that Newsom had “regrettably proved he was ineligible to govern California.”
In places like Los Angeles County, where Mr. Newsom won 72% of the vote in 2018 and neighboring Orange County, a more conservative region, the anger of small businesses is particularly intense. A local business owner who spearheaded the movement to open California’s economy is Andrew Gruel, 40, a chef who owns the seafood restaurant chain Slapfish.