News from the GCVCC
Governor Newsom unveiled his latest plan to address the challenges faced by the COVID-19 Pandemic on Friday. For the Coachella Valley business community, it brought both good and disappointing news.
The good news first, hair salons and barber shops will be allowed to resume operations. Due to the heavily regulated nature of cosmetology, being under the jurisdiction and strict guidelines of the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, many felt these businesses should not have been shuttered to begin with. The industry lobbied aggressively to allow for reopening, including a lawsuit filed on their behalf by the Professional Beauty Federation of California seeking to compel Governor Newsom to reopen the industry. For more on that effort and their reaction to the latest announcement from the Governor, you can click HERE.
Malls may also reopen, but with greatly reduced capacity.
To the more challenging news…
The Governor released a tiered rating system that dictates business openings moving forward. The Governors new plan primarily focuses on two key metrics to determine the operational capabilities of Riverside County businesses, testing positivity rate and the growth of cases. The County currently resides in the “worst” of the four tier system, the Purple tier. This tier restricts the most commerce and has the most capacity restrictions of the four. It includes counties with a positivity rate of 8% or higher.
In addition to the tiered system measurement, the State will also be looking at how the County is performing with test administration, controlling outbreaks and quarantine measures, and other control parameters. Governor Newsom has reserved the right to halt or reverse openings based on these additional gauges.
“The good news is Riverside County numbers have all been heading the right direction of late,” says Joshua Bonner, President and CEO of the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce (GCVCC). “The challenging news is these tiered goals are fairly aggressive relative to where the County has been since the outbreak. As much as it pains me to say it, it seems like we are back in a numbers crunch. We are going to need large portions of the healthy (symptom free) community to take test so we can draw down the overall positivity rate. While I understand the desire to get away from separate attestation plans for each County, these one size fits all metric systems tend to lead to an inevitable outcome in which the community is forced to focus on a number, sometimes at the expense of what really matters – the actual conditions on the ground. It’s a very similar argument to the case that has been made against standardized testing in schools.”
Bonner also expressed concern for a system that doesn’t primarily focus on safe practices to measure outcomes. “Here is one of the big challenges for the business community, for the most part these numbers are completely out of their control. When you open or run a business, generally you understand you have to take certain precautions and safety measures to be licensed and operate. If you do what your supposed to do, you get to stay open and conduct business. By shifting the outcome away from controllable safe practices, and moving it to a community metric, you take control and predictability away from the small business owner. They can be restricted or shut down at any time if the community number climbs, even if they are doing everything right and operating their business in a safe manner. How do you budget under those conditions? How do you determine what level of inventory to purchase or carry? How do you reasonably schedule or maintain staff? For operations like our local restaurants, this makes it extremely difficult to conduct business.”
The Chamber will continue to monitor County metrics and progress, as well as advocating for our local business community on the State, County and local level.
This story was published by GCVCC staff. If a member would like to offer feedback, or has questions, please contact us at 760.347.0676.