This month marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic arriving in Santa Clara County, however this March appears to be like very completely different than final. Now we have many causes for optimism in 2021 that we didn’t have in 2020 due to the large sacrifices and tenacious work that has been undertaken by our whole group to combat again – with vaccines, with testing, and thru the help of one another.
Whereas our lovely and various communities had been shouldering the large burdens and ache introduced by COVID-19, now we have fought to make sure that each side of our group acquired the help they wanted to take care of the pandemic. Final month, we partnered on extending hero pay to the folks who work in our massive retail and grocery institutions. We have now come collectively on what we take into account to be the opposite aspect of this fairness story. We have to get reduction to our small companies, lots of which have been crushed by the pandemic and the mandatory restrictions to comprise it.
Our communities—from the East Aspect to Gilroy, from Sunnyvale to Palo Alto, from downtown Willow Glen to Japantown—are made up of small companies that not solely make use of our residents and supply them with items and companies but in addition are pillars of their particular person neighborhoods. They’re concerned in and provides again to those communities that they’ve known as house, typically for a number of generations. Sadly, this pandemic has compelled so many of them to shut, some quickly however others completely.
A latest County report notes that 2,600 meals services are at the moment inactive and 1,000 have closed completely. Non permanent allow purposes have decreased by 75% for the reason that starting of the pandemic. These numbers signify the destruction of lifetimes of exhausting work and fervour, of careers which have been ended neither by way of market drive nor fault of their very own.
Every of those companies signify lives and livelihoods, and whereas we can’t reopen them, we should do all the pieces in our energy to make sure that the quantity stops rising.
Our plan is straightforward. Scale back or waive all County charges for companies with fewer than 50 staff that stay impacted by the COVID public well being orders (for instance, grocery, restaurant, physique artwork, and a few indoor swimming services) situated wherever in Santa Clara County.
Simply as we ought to be paying extra to staff who work for massive, nationwide chains that, fairly frankly, have profited from the pandemic, we now should convey reduction to their native, smaller opponents that have been closed or restricted in operations.
States and localities throughout the nation have taken completely different approaches to this pandemic, every with professionals and cons. Nonetheless, our residents and our native companies have paid an infinite worth to attain that well being consequence.
It’s simply and equitable to share sacrifice every time attainable. We will urge our colleagues on Tuesday to take this crucial step to help our smallest native companies get to the opposite aspect of the pandemic. The County can bear the loss in income way more simply than they’ll and we should shoulder this accountability so we will all transfer ahead – collectively.
Susan Ellenberg and Cindy Chavez are Santa Clara County supervisors.