For the second time in five days, California Gov. Gavin Newsom did not provide evidence that businesses ordered to close during the state’s new stay-at-home order are actively contributing to the spread of the coronavirus.
Under the new stay-at-home framework, activities previously thought to be low-risk such as outdoor dining and indoor personal care services that can ensure masking at all times must cease all operations. Many business owners have asked for state and local officials to show evidence their businesses are contributing to the spread, but Newsom did not provide such evidence during his press conference last Thursday.
On Monday, Newsom held another press conference and was once again asked to explain himself to small businesses that must now close.
“We’ve heard from so many of people whose businesses are being shut down by some of these orders, who are really frustrated that they feel like they have not seen enough evidence that point to outdoor restaurants spreading COVID in a major way, hair salons, nail salons spreading COVID in a major way,” Fox 11’s Elex Michaelson told the governor.
“I’m wondering what you say to these people who say, ‘Look, I’ve done everything you’ve asked, I’ve followed the rules, I spent a lot of money on PPP, my staff is on the brink of losing their jobs, we’re on the brink of losing our business, it’s the holiday season.’ What do you say to these people who are really desperate and confused and angry right now?”
“I said it Friday, I said it Monday, I’ll say it again today,” Newsom replied. “I’m deeply empathetic and deeply committed to advancing the cause of supporting our small businesses in this challenging and trying time.”
The governor did not provide the evidence business owners are asking for, or commit to making any data available in the future. He pivoted to touting the state making new tax credits and relief grants available to small businesses during this new stay-at-home order, although some have scoffed at this proposal.