Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday that regions of the state will be subject to more restrictive stay-at-home orders when their hospital capacity erodes to an alarming level.
Following the Governor’s announcement, the California Chamber of Commerce and local chambers of commerce urged Congress to help struggling small businesses.
The lockdowns will be put in place when the remaining capacity of intensive care units (ICUs) in a region falls below 15% and would last for at least three weeks to ensure the ICUs will be able to handle the anticipated surge in patients.
For purposes of the new stay-at-home order, the state is divided into five regions: Northern California, Greater Sacramento, Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
The Governor said the state is projecting that four of the five regions will reach the 15% benchmark very soon and the Bay Area by mid to late December.
More details on the stay-at-home order and other requirements will be posted at covid19.ca.gov.
“It is incredibly difficult to balance public health needs against the ability of small businesses to stay open and workers to support their families,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg in a statement following the Governor’s announcement.
“Small business revenues will now be a function of hospital capacity and we need every Californian to support small business by practicing responsible behavior,” said Zaremberg.
“The loss of revenue many small businesses will experience as a result of this latest shutdown could be catastrophic. We appreciate the fact the Governor has allowed retail to stay open even if it is at a reduced capacity. With so many small businesses relying on revenue from the holiday shopping season, we are encouraging people to take advantage of local retail establishments to do their holiday shopping,” said Zaremberg.
Due to concerns over the economic fallout of the new order, CalChamber and more than 100 local chambers of commerce sent a letter on Thursday to the California congressional delegation, urging them to act immediately to provide economic relief to struggling small businesses.
CalChamber and local chambers of commerce are specifically asking Congress to extend and expand the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as forgive the federal loan California has received for unemployment benefits. This loan is repaid with higher employer taxes and is now approximately $20 billion and expected to grow as a result of the new shelter-in-place order.
A copy of the letter is available here.