News from the GCVCC
Eighteen local Chambers of Commerce in Riverside County have signed onto a letter delivered to Governor Gavin Newsom today supporting Riverside County’s effort to reopen the economy. The letter supports a County plan submitted to the State on August 12th. Riverside County Supervisors sent a letter via County Executive Officer George Johnson that proposed a three-phase plan that built on steps the County had taken to fight the spread of COVID-19. The letter also spelled out the strain the virus and the ensuing economic shutdown has put on County residents and public services.
The request to the Governor was supported by a broad coalition of local Chamber and Association leaders from across Riverside County. The rare show of unity behind a common advocacy platform illustrates the urgent need for relief from the significant strain being placed on the local economy.
“Our current path is not sustainable for the local economy,” says Joshua Bonner, President and CEO of the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce. “We lost a significant portion of our annual economy on the back half of the last tourism season. If we continue to have restaurants, service industry, and even small group travel of 50 shuttered for the upcoming season, temporary staff reductions will quickly turn into permanent job losses for our local economy.”
One of the biggest concerns is the local tourism, which accounts for a large portion of regional jobs. A recent Visit California’s economic impact report showed visitor spending reached over $7.86 billion and supported 82,460 jobs in Riverside County. “Our region competes with a lot of other metro markets for tourism spend,“ Bonner said. “The hard reality is many of the markets around us are starting to reopen. As people return to theaters in Orange County and dine-in restaurants in Las Vegas, it is putting us at a severe disadvantage.”
The letter asks Governor Newsom to return more control of County reopening decisions to the elected Board of Supervisors and the local County Health Department. “We believe the health professionals and elected leaders in Riverside County are best equipped to steer us through this,” says Bonner. “Our local officials here acted even more expediently than the State in issuing stay at home orders, and they have continued to stay on top of what our local situation is. Our preference is they develop local solutions that work for us.