City of Carpinteria Asks California for COVID-19 Economic Relief

By Nick Schou   |   February 18, 2021
Carpinteria City Councilman Roy Lee

On February 8, Carpinteria Mayor Wade Nomura sent a letter to State Senator Monique Limón asking for her support for a proposal to provide economic relief to local businesses based on economic losses per square footage. 

“Although some businesses in the city have been allowed to gradually reopen with protections in place, business activities within the city are severely restricted and as a result, commercial tenants are suffering from significant adverse revenue impacts,” the letter states. “These revenue impacts stress the financial resources of business owners in the city and threaten a wave of small business closures and bankruptcies that would result in potential layoffs of city residents employed by these residences and quality of life impacts for all Carpinterians.”

To address that problem, Nomura suggested that Limón and U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal help introduce a bill that would reimburse local businesses. The plan: allow businesses, especially retail stores and restaurants, to apply for economic relief based on their square footage of lost space during the COVID-19 pandemic. “To mitigate these community-altering impacts, the city is requesting your support in sponsoring legislation that would provide direct assistance.”

Under the city’s proposed formula, the state of California would allow retail businesses to apply for state aid based on their loss of operating capacity, which under COVID, has forced indoor restrictions of up to 25 percent of their total square footage. The idea began with a proposal by Roy Lee, owner of Uncle Chen’s Restaurant, a member of Carpinteria’s City Council who introduced the measure.

“One day I was looking inside the restaurant at all these empty spaces,” said Lee. “Suddenly I realized it wasn’t fair what was happening. The state was preventing us from doing what we were supposed to do. I think every business will be positively impacted by this idea, and new restaurants, which are having a really hard time, will hopefully recover as a result of this idea.”


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