Local chambers of commerce call on Gov. Newsom to exempt SLO County from regional stay-at-home order

Posted at 7:57 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 02:20:39-05

Local chambers of commerce are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom for a waiver to exempt San Luis Obispo County from the regional stay-at-home order.

The letter was sent to the Governor over the weekend. At last check, the online petition following the letter has more than 1,900 signatures.

For restaurants, like Rosa's in Pismo Beach, we're told they need all the support they can get during this difficult time.

Douglas MacMillan owns Rosa's Italian Restaurant and Ada's Fish House across the street.

"I don't understand why they felt a need to close down what we've all worked so hard to create to keep it safe," MacMillan said. "I feel deflated."

MacMillan has spent more than 20,000 creating outdoor patios with lights, heaters, and shade at both of his restaurants only to transition to take-out only under the new regional stay-at-home order.

He's also downsized staff, significantly.

"We cut 70 employees and that's brutal. I mean, that's pretty bad. I've kept as many on as I can but without stimulus and without PPP, it's almost impossible to justify keeping them on," MacMillan explained.

30 employees remain to help with those to-go orders.

With just a couple days into this new order, it's sort of learn as you go.

"We understand now that if people come and get their food to-go, they can eat it on the curb, or they can eat it in our tables outside. We're not supposed to wait on them from what I understand but they can just pull up a chair. We will sanitize the tables after every use of course," MacMillan said.

But local chambers say what's allowed isn't enough. A group drafted a letter calling on Governor Newsom to eliminate San Luis Obispo County from the Southern California counties with which we've been grouped for the stay-at-home order.

"We're getting to the stage now that we're going to see businesses close or after this regional stay-at-home order maybe they won't be in a place to reopen and we don't want to see that," said Jocelyn Brennan, South County Chambers of Commerce, President and CEO.

The letter cites the small number of people hospitalized compared to those areas. As of Tuesday, 14 people were hospitalized in San Luis Obispo County including three in the ICU.

Brennan says it's important that the chambers stand up for the local businesses.

"We realize it's a long shot but we know it's the right thing to do," Brennan said.

MacMillan recognizes that they've stepped up to the plate and is optimistic of the outcome.

"To send a letter from every chamber in California or at least in our county hopefully, we will be impactful," MacMillan said.

With so many businesses hanging on by a thread, MacMillan says they're going to keep moving forward during this unprecedented time.

"34 years I've been here, nothing even comes close to the impact that this has not only had on business but employees, my family, I mean, my restaurant family. I've never seen anything like this," MacMillan concluded.

Brennan tells KSBY they expect to send another letter to the Governor on Wednesday with the signatures attached.

Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Atascadero and San Luis Obispo Chambers of Commerce signed the letter. Also, South County Chambers, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance and SLO Coast Wine.