Restaurants and other businesses on the verge of reopening face legal uncertainty from COVID-19 after they open their doors.
State Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) says the threat of coronavirus lawsuits against businesses is real and wants to stop them before they start.
The annual state budgeting that starts next week is going to be unlike any in recent memory. It’s been easy the past couple of years when California was swimming in cash and saving money in a rainy day fund.
“A fiscal cloud is rolling in over California. The state is entering a recession resulting from the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus,” Borgeas said. “While this puts state leaders in a difficult position, we must urge the governor and Legislature to prioritize our citizens’ most fundamental needs as we reignite California’s economic engine.”
COVID-19 Legal Immunity For Restaurants
Following the release of Gov. Newsom’s four-stage plan for reopening, Borgeas requested that he include restaurants in the next phase. He sent a letter to Newsom detailing his ideas for how to proceed.
Immunity is addressed in the letter, which reads in part: “Local restaurants and food service workers are an essential part of our economy. Businesses should not be penalized as they attempt to assist and serve Californians.”
Specific points in Borgeas’ plan include:
- Provide local restaurants and leaders with a detailed, data-based timeline on phased reopening;
- Allow local health departments to tailor guidelines and requirements, consistent with state health protocols, to protect the public;
- Grant legal immunity against COVID-19 related litigation to restaurants under the Emergency Services Act; and
- Place the annual minimum wage increases on pause until restaurants mitigate the economic damage
Borgeas recently wrote an op-ed on his five-point plan to reopen businesses and jump-start the state’s economy.
Next: Legal Immunity for All Businesses
Borgeas’ next letter will request that Newsom offer immunity to all businesses.
The letter likely will be sent next week once a few more signatures from Valley lawmakers are added to it.
State Budget Timeline
Newsom will release the revised proposed budget on May 14.
The Senate and Assembly must pass the Budget by June 15.