I need to be crystal clear: The Redding Chamber of Commerce wants our businesses OPEN. RIGHT. NOW. The unilateral move by Governor Newsom to shutdown restaurants, bars, and other business types across the state, including rural counties like Shasta, which has continued to report COVID-19 cases below the allowable level, is claiming more victims each day.
Those victims are hard-working, honest, local business owners. There are a growing number of others on life support like the 78-year old restaurant owner who came by the Chamber to drop off the final documents for our grant program. He looked me in the eye underneath his Vietnam Veteran cap and emotionally described how he has dipped deep into his retirement funds to pay his bills. “I had planned to retire in 2 years”, he said with frustration, “I guess that will have to wait.”
This has to end. We demand that local control be returned to we, the people of Shasta County. The Governor has gone too far in not only holding as a ransom the $18 million in federal CARES Act funds rightfully due to our county, but he is also threatening to tighten the purse strings on public safety dollars if we fail to comply with his orders – and at the same time releasing thousands of prisoners early from prisons across the state!
The Board of Supervisors are fighting this. The County CEO is fighting this. The local City Councils are fighting this. Our State representatives are fighting this. Even our County Health Officer is fighting this.
We are fighting too. The Chamber is fighting for our business community at all levels of government. We have joined forces with statewide coalitions advocating for safe reopening of businesses.
Locally, we have worked hard to secure $1.2 million in grant funds for businesses bearing the burden of the pandemic and are supportive of the additional ($$$$$$$) in funds just allocated by the Redding City Council. We will keep advocating for more financial support in the weeks to come.
We know COVID-19 is a real thing. We know it is novel. We know it is contagious. We know that human lives are being lost as a result. Every life is precious and that can’t be overstated. However, in our county the economic crisis is far worse, and subsequent deteriorating public health issues (alcohol & drug abuse, domestic violence, depression, suicide, etc.) are sure to follow. We have passed the point of patience. We have promoted compliance with the hope our efforts would lead to a quicker reopening of most businesses. It hasn’t. We are at a tipping point. Governor Newsom’s strategy to control the virus has caused great harm to many in our business community and school system. It is plain to see the medicine has become the poison.