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Sacramento business groups urge California to modify COVID-19 restrictions

The business groups urged the state to amend its most restrictive “purple tier” to allow restaurants, museums, and fitness industries to operate indoors.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Organizations representing Sacramento’s Central City Property and Business Improvement Districts are urging state leaders to re-evaluate coronavirus business restrictions.

In a Tuesday letter to California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly, the business groups urged the state to amend its most restrictive “purple tier” to allow restaurants, museums, and fitness industries to operate indoors as they have in the state’s second-most restrictive “red tier.”

California has implemented a county-by-county four-tier system of restrictions that are based on population and daily coronavirus case rates. Sacramento County and several other Northern California counties were moved back into the most restrictive tier Tuesday as coronavirus case rates rise.

Businesses in those sectors in purple tier counties are required to close most indoor operations to their customers.

“Our restaurants are the backbone of our community and contribute to the vibrancy of our city,” the letter from the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, Midtown Association, and R Street Partnership wrote. “They have also been one of the most severely impacted industries by shut downs for the last nine months.”

Sacramento’s business groups also point toward statements made by the Sacramento County Health Services, which has said the increase in positive coronavirus cases has been tied directly to large family gatherings and nursing homes. Sacramento Business leaders say restaurants have not been linked to an increase in cases because of the strong safety guidelines they have put in place.

Businesses across the state have been teetering between open and closed, as counties have moved back and forth between more and less restrictive tiers. The costs on businesses have been dramatic and created a logistical nightmare. Managers have struggled to know how to staff, order, and set business hours during the pandemic.

The California Business Roundtable has criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom for policies they say are stagnating business in the state.

“Despite the governor and public health officials citing family gatherings as the main cause of the increase in COVID cases, it’s once again the workers and small business owners that is paying the price,” said Rob Lapsley, President of the California Business Roundtable. “We have repeatedly asked the governor and his administration for contact tracing data that would show how business openings have affected COVID rates and transmission.”

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