This community opinion was contributed by Victor Gomez, president of Pinnacle Strategy and former Hollister mayor. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
Entering 2021, it is nearly impossible to avoid headlines about businesses that are closing their doors and more jobs lost due to COVID-19 in California. Not only are California’s businesses suffering, but we also have it worse than other states for one reason: lawmakers did nothing in the 2020 legislative session to protect our businesses against California’s worsening lawsuit abuse problem. With the legislature back in Sacramento and a fresh set of legislative eyes on new bills, my hope is that this issue will seriously be considered this year.
California medium and small businesses employ millions of Californians. As a former local franchisee, I can tell you firsthand how valuable jobs are to our community and how they positively impact our friends and neighbors. Like many small business owners, we put it all on the line when we drain our savings to launch a new business in San Benito County. We work tirelessly, day and night, so that our businesses succeed, in turn putting dozens of residents to work. In the restaurant industry, we are the ones that employ our youth, keeping them off our streets and focused on shaping their future as young employees.
With that said, as coronavirus cases surge, California leaders are failing small businesses and local job creators. Governor Newsom has acted fast to push executive orders that stall local businesses from surviving yet has revealed no strategy or commitment to pass COVID-19 liability protections for businesses in this 2021 legislative session. This failed leadership cannot continue.
I urge our local elected officials to push state leaders to protect small business owners and request that they protect those that employ so many by passing legislation that prioritizes their protection from frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits.
If the Governor fails to act soon, we will likely see many other businesses close their doors here in San Benito County.