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By OC Board Supervisor Lisa Bartlett
Just when we thought we had flattened the curve and slowly started getting back to business, COVID-19 roared back with a vengeance. and whatever progress we made over the last few months came to a screeching halt! Earlier this month, the State mandated the closure of all in-door operations for the following business sectors statewide:
- Restaurants (patio dining or pickup allowed)
- Wineries and Tasting Rooms
- Movie Theaters
- Family Entertainment Centers
- Zoos and Museums
In addition, as Orange County is currently on the State’s Monitoring List, further restrictions were implemented. Effective July 13, the state mandated the closure of the following business sectors unless they can be modified, as applicable, to operate outside or offer pickup service:
- Fitness centers
- Worship services
- Offices for non-critical sectors
- Personal care services (e.g., nail salons, waxing, facials)
- Hair salons and barbershops
What’s the old saying—two steps forward, one step back? This latest round of shutdowns has dealt a devastating blow to the economic recovery of our community, especially our small businesses. Clearly, we cannot continue down this path. How can we move forward in a manner that protects the health and safety of residents and, at the same time, allows our economy to rebound? Numerous businesses are now moving their business outdoors if it makes sense. Imagine retail shopping of all sorts in a Farmer’s Market-type setting. Restaurants are expanding into parking lots, with raised-deck platforms to accommodate more guests. Businesses are adapting in ways we never imagined.
We need to continue to slow down the spread of the virus until a vaccine is developed. A strong and healthy economy needs strong and healthy people. Each and every one of us has an individual and societal responsibility to do what we can to protect those we love. We know this virus is not going away anytime soon. We can all start by adhering to health and safety guidance procedures.
When in a high-risk situation, please wear a face covering. The California Dept. of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency both require wearing a cloth face covering in public settings, and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Washing your hands frequently, keeping your hands away from your face, cleaning and disinfecting, and practicing social distancing can go a long way in slowing the spread. Remember, the short-term goal is to slow the spread of this virus, so we can get back to business, and get our economy moving again.
People need to work so they can earn a living, put food on the table and keep a roof over their family’s heads. If wearing a mask and taking other precautionary measures allows them to do that, then why wouldn’t we all want to help save someone’s livelihood? We’re all in this together.
As stated earlier, our small business community has suffered greatly throughout this pandemic, and in an effort to help them stay afloat, I am in the process of awarding approximately $14.5 million dollars in CARES Act Funding to more than 1,400 small businesses and nonprofits in the Fifth District through my Small Business Grant Relief Program.
We also know that many people are struggling with food insecurity at this time, so I am partnering with Saddleback Church to host at food distribution event at the Outlets at San Clemente on Wednesday, July 29, from 9–11:30 a.m., where we will be distributing groceries, including fresh produce, dairy products, bread, desserts, protein and canned food. If you, or someone you know, are in need of food right now, please join us at this event. You don’t even have to get out of your car!
I hope you and your family stay safe and healthy during these challenging times. As always, I have an “open door” policy, so please reach out to me if I can answer any questions or be of any assistance to you.
Lisa Bartlett sits on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, representing the 5th District. She was reelected in 2018.