Small businesses across the country have suffered from shutdowns that sometimes flare up as suddenly as the coronavirus itself. Restaurants, gyms, mom and pop shops and spas have closed, some after months of trying to stay there.
The pain in California was acute. By September, nearly 40,000 small businesses had closed in the state – more than any other state since the pandemic began, according to a report compiled by Yelp. Half had closed permanently, according to the report, far more than the 6,400 that had permanently closed in New York.
Few of the pandemic decisions Mr. Newsom faced have been easy. California has suffered tremendously from Covid-19 with more than 3.5 million cases and 47,000 deaths. Los Angeles County, one of the hardest hit locations in the recent virus spill, has more than 1.2 million cases and 19,000 deaths.
Dan Newman, a political strategist for Mr. Newsom, said the governor is focused on coronavirus vaccinations and reopening the state. Mr. Newman accused “state and national GOP partisans” of “assisting this Republican recall program in the hope of creating an expensive, distracting and destructive circus”.
Dee Dee Myers, director of the governor’s office for business and economic development, admitted the pandemic “has hit our small businesses hard,” citing several government programs offering help. These include the California Covid-19 Small Business Aid Program, the California Rebuilding Fund, and the Main Street hiring tax credit.
Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement that Mr. Newsom “has proven he is absolutely unqualified to run the state of California.”
Small business anger is particularly strong in places like Los Angeles County, where Mr. Newsom received 72 percent of the vote in 2018, and neighboring Orange County, a more conservative area. A local business owner leading the movement to open up California’s economy is Andrew Gruel, 40, a chef who owns Slapfish, a seafood restaurant chain.