The heat is being turned up on California Gov. Gavin Newsom, with state senators pushing him to adjust the harsh restaurant restrictions he recently instituted. The restrictions were ramped up without any real compelling evidence of COVID-19 spread at restaurants.
A letter to Newsom said, in part, “We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to reclassify restaurants as essential businesses.” A bipartisan group of senators supported State Sen. Patricia Bates’ request, signing her letter to Newsom.
The group of 11 California senators, including two Democrats, are seeking relief for restaurant owners as they fight the latest round of spiking cases.
“We ask that you immediately reclassify the restaurant industry as critical infrastructure before more damage is done,” the letter, sent on Friday, said. “As it is becoming obvious to Californians, these essential businesses do more than simply provide a place to eat. Restaurants are active participants in local neighborhoods, providing meals to senior citizens, and working with food banks to feed families struggling to put food on their tables.”
“We are in the middle of the most acute peak,” Newsom said. The state was distributing 5,000 body bags mostly to the Los Angeles and San Diego areas and has 60 refrigerated trailers standing by, he said Tuesday. The number of average daily deaths has quadrupled from 41 a month ago to 163 now.
Newsom is facing a possible recall election, with organizers saying they have collected more than half of the nearly 1.5 million petition signatures needed to place the recall on the ballot.
Recall organizers have until mid-March to gather signatures. California’s last recall was in 2003 when voters installed Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor after deposing Democrat Gray Davis.