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Raw Video: Newsom Announces Regulatory Relief For Bars, Restaurants Amid Full Reopening

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At an appearance in San Francisco, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state would continue allowing outdoor dining expansions and parklets past the June 15 date of the state's reopening as part of a plan to boost restaurant business. (6/3/21)

Video Transcript

LONDON BREED: --appreciate the work that the governor is doing, and we're looking forward to seeing even more policy changes and even more investments to make sure that the small businesses of the governor's hometown and all throughout the state of California survive this really challenging time. So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our governor, Gavin Newsom.


GAVIN NEWSOM: By the way, when did The Avenues not become The Avenues? Did you guys change that?

LONDON BREED: This is like The Richmond now.

GAVIN NEWSOM: It's The Richmond. All right. It's always been The Richmond.

LONDON BREED: But it's The Avenues.

GAVIN NEWSOM: All right. I've just-- you know, I haven't been here in a little while. Great to be here with you, Mayor, and thank you for all the incredible work you're doing. Thank you for the vaccination efforts here. Been a leader in our vaccination efforts here in the state of California. California, as a consequence, has been a leader in this nation and throughout the rest of the world. There are just seven jurisdictions in the world-- so seven other countries in the world that have higher vaccination administration rates. We in California just passed, along with 11 other states, 70% of all adults received at least one dose of vaccines now at the place that President Biden hopes to get the rest of the country by July 4.

We recognize our responsibility to do more and better. A week ago, we announced incentives, cash prizes. Tomorrow we'll be pulling 15 names, $50,000 cash prizes for individuals. Doing the same a week later. Encouraging everybody to go out, if they haven't been vaccinated, to get vaccinated so they're eligible for those prizes, eligible for these incentives. But we're mindful that because of the success of our efforts that this last group of folks that may be on-- you know, just a little hesitant, may not be convinced of the importance of the vaccine, that we're going to have a lot of work to do. It's going to be stubborn.

And so these incentives are about iterations. It's about trying new things. And we're going to continue to raise awareness, and I think tomorrow will go a long way to raising awareness around this incentive program since not everybody I talked to is even aware that the state is doing incentives. And so that's a big part of our work in front of us and the work that the country is doing.

You saw the president today announcing his nationwide efforts, and they're expanding incentives, shots for shops or shops and shots, every conceivable thing from beer incentives, localizing incentives. Restaurants large and small all part and parcel of our effort to get to where we all want to go. Particularly here in California, that's to a world without a blueprint, moving beyond that blueprint in just a couple weeks on June 15.

We're here, though, recognizing that as we move beyond the blueprint, as we reopen the economy fully-- though the vast majority of the economy is operating in the least restrictive tiers in the state of California. As we move to that final stage on June 15, we're mindful of what we've been saying for many, many months. We don't want to go back to normal. Normal was never good enough.

And I think one of those areas of opportunity is what brings us here today. The mayor and I have had a lot of conversations about this. I mean a dozen conversations about the success of these parklets and how it's enlivened our streets, how it not only saved restaurants and bars through this pandemic, kept people employed through this pandemic, but how it's revitalized neighborhoods in many respects and about how it advanced the entrepreneurial spirit, and we want to keep that going.

And for years and years and years-- I was mayor at the time many, many years ago-- these were hard things to get permitted in this city, almost impossible. And if you did get them permitted, with respect, Director, you didn't always have an ABC that, you know, picked up the phone or, dare I say, even gave a damn. I say that with love and respect. It was frustrating.

And so we're trying to connect those dots and we're trying to take something that really seemed at work in this pandemic and to allow the flexibility-- we're not mandating anything-- but allowing the flexibility for cities large and small in the state, including San Francisco, to consider the opportunity to continue to allow these parklets and these opportunities to have outdoor dining, alfresco dining, to see them continue and to allow these businesses to expand their footprint and expand their opportunity to recover from this pandemic, and moreover, to create new business opportunities in the future.

And so this is an opportunity for the entire state. We're seeing cities not dissimilar to San Francisco and San Diego that are promoting their outdoor dining in more progressive ways. San Jose just announced their efforts recently. Long Beach has got some innovative strategies. Sacramento-- I'm getting calls from mayors all over the state saying we want to see these things be made permanent.

And I say be made because we're not naive about local zoning. We're not naive about local planning. I was a former mayor. Localism I say often is determinative. The mayor and the planning department working with county supervisors, working with local zoning will figure out the permanency of these things. But we want to get the state out of the way. We want to make this as of right from the state's perspective.

And so we've got a number of pieces of legislation that is going through the California legislature. Some of that won't happen soon enough, so we want to make sure there are no gaps. And that's why we're going to extend these orders that we put into place going back to March of last year. There were seven specific regulatory relief efforts that the ABC advanced. Two of them we are going to extend through the rest of the calendar year that will allow the legislature working with ABC, working with Jot Condie-- he's been doing a magnificent job on behalf of restaurants for decades but notably in the last year.

And where did your daughter go? She just left right when I was going to introduce her.

- She's in there-- she's in there looking for food.

GAVIN NEWSOM: All right, but who's also a wonderful father. But want to provide that opportunity and that window to be able to negotiate the finer points so we can see that we can extend this beyond the calendar year.

So this will allow folks to continue to get the takeout. If you do take out food, you'll be able to get the takeout cocktails. This will allow the opportunity to provide more certainty in terms of the extended footprint and the ability to allow operations, including the ABC certifying the extended permits for these outdoor dining spaces in parks, parklets, parking lots all throughout the state of California.

So I'm very excited about this, and I think this is a good thing for our economic recovery. It's also a good thing for our public health because we want to encourage more people still to be outside. This pandemic's not behind us. This pandemic is not extinguished. We still have an enormous amount of work to do. We're mindful of these variants. We're mindful of the fact that not all parts of the country are like the state of California or even San Francisco as it relates to vaccination rates.

And then as we enter into the hotter summer months, more people going inside looking for air conditioning, some of those issues may bring these issues of COVID spread back in the forefront of our consciousness. So we want to encourage these outdoor-seating opportunities, encourage healthy choices, and obviously economic opportunities.

Final two points. This is part and parcel-- and the mayor opened this door, and I appreciate that-- part and parcel of a series of efforts and initiatives the state has taken, including doing direct relief grants of up to $25,000 for bars and restaurants-- $25,000 grants, not loans. We extended that program. It's now, I believe, close to $4 billion. We did hundreds of millions of dollars in tax relief and tax abatement, including not having to pay for the Alcoholic Beverage Control license for at least two years, which, in my recollection, the last time I checked was over $1,200 for some licensees, so not insignificant. Sales-tax relief, other payroll-tax relief, hiring tax credits. We encourage folks to learn about all these tax credits. $1,000 hiring tax credits through the Main Street Hiring Tax Credit program.

Go to covid19.ca.gov-- covid19.ca.gov to learn about all these programs. It's still remarkable to me how many people are eligible but still not taking advantage of these direct relief programs.

In addition to that, I also want to remind people that we have billions of dollars we've set aside to take care of utilities and to take care of your rent. If you've been directly impacted by COVID-19, the state of California is proposing in our new budget to take care of 100% of your rent, your back rent, going back in the previous year and helping you moving forward-- 100%.

Again, it's remarkable to me how many people, A, don't believe it or haven't availed themselves of that opportunity. There's 72,000 people in the state have gotten applications in and approved on this program. So we've got to remind people of these opportunities.

Incentives for vaccines-- if you haven't taken them, direct $50 gift cards, opportunities to be in this cash slash lottery. It's not a lottery legally or technically, but it acts as if it's a lottery, which we'll be doing tomorrow on the 11th and on June 15. To make sure that businesses large and small are taking advantage of these grant programs, applying for them, tax-credit programs, getting more information on that, and obviously the rental assistance. Utilities, by the way, that also includes water bills, 100%. Taken care of going back many, many months.

So that's why I'm here to highlight these things, to thank the mayor for her extraordinary leadership. This state's not coming back. It's coming roaring back. 38% of America's jobs came out of the state of California last month. 99 IPOs year to date. The state of California not only outperforming many other large states in terms of health outcomes but the contraction of our economy was more modest than states like Texas, more modest than states like Florida as we advance our health framework.

I'm very proud of this recovery, and we're poised to, I think, experience a recovery the likes of which none of us could have conceived of a couple months ago. And it's because of you, Mom. Because-- where's Elmy? It's not just brother here, Julio, but Elmy and the other member of the Tommy's family and all the entrepreneurs out here, and I just want to close by thanking them because I know how difficult and challenging this year has been.

I want to thank all the small businesses. John reminds me of this all the time. At the end of the day, you can't be projob and antibusiness. And it's the businesses that put everything on the line, that risk everything that create these magical moments and create the serendipity that our restaurants and bars-- and create a sense of place and neighborhood.

And so for all those magical moments that you guys create every single day, those relationships-- and I appreciated that point you made that you develop so many ways you make life worth living. And so I don't want to overstate it, but I'm not going to understate the importance of restaurants, the importance of these type of establishments to the quality of life in remarkable places like this in San Francisco. And so thank you, Tommy's, and hundreds of thousands of other businesses that we hope to take advantage of this new program.

With that, we're here to answer any questions.

- Governor, a question about the state budget. The legislature has proposed a billion dollars in ongoing funding for homelessness flexible for local government. Do you have any concerns about that proposal?

And then if I can ask a second question, you're here today to talk about small businesses. If I'm not mistaken, you're the first governor since James Rolph to go directly from running a business to politics. Do you feel any kind of--

GAVIN NEWSOM: James Rolph, I appreciate that. I'm going to look that up.


- Do you have any kind of--

GAVIN NEWSOM: Didn't he design city hall? So I know a thing or two about Rolph, yeah. That's about it, only a thing or two.

- But do you feel any personal responsibility, burden to, you know, look out for businesses, small businesses?

GAVIN NEWSOM: Yeah. I mean, it was my life. It was my passion since I got out of college with a dream and took pen to paper. I got 13 investors, $7,500. Wasn't a-- didn't inherit it. Wasn't a family business. It was just an idea and was able to cobble it together. It took me 18 months because I had some ABC issues. Literally 18 months because I had ABC issues.

I say-- by the way, we've got a great new director who's also a San Franciscan. So he knows a lot about your community, your city, Madam Mayor.

So no, look, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit runs through our veins. It's what makes California so great, truly great. Is what the dream is built on is all those risk takers. And so it's a big point of pride. It's personal for me.

You know, I can't express to you how many extraordinary things have happened in my life because I had the privilege to be behind a counter serving other people. And so for me, it's, as I say, it's more of an emotional attachment, not an [INAUDIBLE].

Number two as it relates to the issue of homelessness, I'm very proud of the work we did the last few years to provide ongoing money to cities and counties under our HAP program. It used to be something called HEAP prior to that.

We look forward to working with the legislature on this specific proposal. There will be substantial money unquestionably coming under that program. The question is where we land. We have some differences, though I want to just express deep gratitude to the legislature on what they announced a few days ago. Very consistent with where we hope to be, and I think we are well on our way to getting a balanced budget on time that we'll all be very, very proud of.

And the homeless investments will be historic and unprecedented. The question is exactly what the final package looks like. That's part of a negotiation that's ongoing as we speak.

- Governor, do you see any of these changes becoming permanent? I mean, a lot of these--

GAVIN NEWSOM: The mayor is here. Let her answer that.

LONDON BREED: Yes. Let me just say-- and the governor mentioned when he was mayor how difficult it was to get one of these. Well, when I was supervisor at District 5, I wanted to see these things all over our neighborhoods.

It is exciting to be mayor right now and to see these parklets. I mean, this is the one bright light we've had throughout this pandemic because you see people. You see families. You see smiles. You see faces, and people are out enjoying San Francisco like never before.

Yes, I love going inside and indoors when I'm cold. But, in fact, you know, usually I don't like to be really cold. And I've been sitting out on the parklets with my coat on, and I don't want to go indoors anymore almost because the feeling of being outside and seeing people has been really amazing.

And I don't know about you, but I do like to people watch. I don't know who likes to do that anymore, but my grandmother would sit in the window and I'd sit in the window, and we'd people watch and talk about things. And so I just feel like it's bringing life to the city like never before.

So yes, as far as I'm concerned, they're here to stay. I've made it clear as my legislation works its way through the board of supervisors that if they don't want to support it and they want to water it down, I will take my legislation to the voters because I think these are very popular additions.

GAVIN NEWSOM: I'm so-- I'm so happy to hear this [INAUDIBLE]. This is my kind of talk.

LONDON BREED: This is fighting words.

GAVIN NEWSOM: No [INAUDIBLE], but I'm-- honestly, this is great news.


GAVIN NEWSOM: This is good to hear.

LONDON BREED: It's great news but also--


LONDON BREED: --you know, just making sure. This is something that's really popular. It's supported, and it supports our businesses. We keep talking about all the support for small businesses, but then we add bureaucracy and layers and money and-- I mean, if you want to start a business back in the day, a long, long time ago when he was starting his business out many, many, many years ago as a youngster in this city, it was not as difficult as it is now.

Yes, ABC has always been difficult, but just in general-- but just in general, you know, most people can start a business with a little bit of money and make a life for themselves. And now, you know, you have to pay $250,000 for an ABC license. You have to pay the city $250,000 to turn your water on. I mean, it's unbelievable how much money it costs to start a business.

So I know I went off on a tangent, but I'm looking forward to breaking down bureaucracy, making it easier for small businesses, and getting continued support from the governor to help support our small businesses. It's been absolutely amazing to have someone who comes from small-business management and oversight to be here and to understand the challenges that exist and to make the investments.

GAVIN NEWSOM: Boy, I appreciate all that. All I can say is eat your heart out Paris-- San Francisco.

- Governor--

GAVIN NEWSOM: By the way, just an FYI, just another thing I want to [INAUDIBLE], we've waived the Franchise Tax Board fee for starting businesses in the state of California. That's just a reminder of some of the incentives--


--that we've put in place [INAUDIBLE].

- Jeez, I might start a small business now.

- Governor, Cal/OSHA standards for today is considering rules that would require employees to wear a mask at workplaces unless everyone is vaccinated. So this is stricter than the CDC guidelines that the state is following.


- Should there be a different standard for workplaces? And if this passes, would you consider [INAUDIBLE]?

GAVIN NEWSOM: No. Look, they're meeting today, OSHA, and so we'll see where they land on the rule making before I make a determination of next steps. But look, the workplaces they're protecting-- larger meatpacking facilities, larger industrial facilities-- have a different set of challenges and criteria. And so OSHA always mindful of that, and I'll be mindful of that in terms of making any subsequent decisions on whether that needs to be adjusted or corrected.

But they did delay the decision. They got a lot of feedback in the last few weeks. We'll see where they land today, and I'll have more to say after I read the final determination.

- Governor, you mentioned that there are people who might not know about the vaccine incentive program. What is the state doing to reach out to, say, underserved communities?

GAVIN NEWSOM: Well, we're doing-- it's been one week. We've been doing press conferences. We've been up and down the state working with ethnic media, community-based organizations. We've been doing door-knocking campaigns. We have something called GOTV. I was just part of it a couple of days ago, Get Out The Vaccination. Literally boots on the ground promoting this. I've personally been handing out cards to individuals. I was down in Chinatown in LA doing exactly that to promote this.

So we've got to highlight this. And again, just started a week ago. We had the Memorial Day weekend, so we knew there would be a significant decline over Memorial Day weekend, and that was the case. Numbers a little better. 172,000 yesterday than the prior day, but we're seeing what that looks like in the wash from the weekend. The president highlighting things is helpful.

I think more important will be tomorrow as we highlight the cash grants when people actually receive $50,000. 15 people will, only if you've been vaccinated. And by the way, it's all people that have been previously vaccinated are eligible as well. But those that haven't yet got vaccinated, they could be in that raffle. They can also get in next week's raffle and have the opportunity to get a million and a half dollars on June 15.

And so I think this will build up. Again, for us, it's about just finishing the job, and the hardest part-- you know, 10% between 30% and 40%, that's easy. Between 70% and 75%, 80% of adults, that's going to be hard, and that's the space we're in, particularly with adults. And we're going to have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks to get where we want to be.

- So, Governor, in plain-old, simple television-news sound-bite-ese, what are you doing here today symbolically? What are you saying?

GAVIN NEWSOM: Not symbolically, substantively extending the opportunity for restaurants to operate as they have by allowing takeout not just of food take out of cocktails, to extend that and to allow that at least through January 1 next year.

We're also looking to allow flexibility for mayors all across the state to allow these parklets to become permanent in cities large and small, providing the flexibility in terms of the state rules and regulations mindful of local rules and regulations.

- So you're saying not every city is like San Francisco in terms of these?

GAVIN NEWSOM: Not every city-- there are no cities like San Francisco, period, full stop. As it goes to the issue of parklets, this has taken off everywhere. I haven't been in any city-- and I've been every part of the state. Every part of the state has been moving in this direction enthusiastically-- Central Valley, not just the coasts. I just noted Long Beach, San Diego, LA. You're seeing these all over.

And it's really revitalizing communities and neighborhoods. And as the mayor said, it's just about reengaging people after a year we've been behind doors and, you know, behind our masks and just reconnecting. So it has a profound impact not just economically and health but also in terms of spirit and pride.

- Should getting these things legal across the state, should it be so bureaucratic? You make it sound like it's almost difficult, that you have do some persuading.

GAVIN NEWSOM: Well, we're not persuading. We're trying to make it less bureaucratic. The announcement here today by definition is removing roadblocks and bureaucracy from the state's perspective. I can't account to local decisions, local planning, local ordinances. I'm mindful as a former mayor to respect that. But as the state's role, we're getting out of the way.


- Governor, what have businesses been telling you? Because as we talk about Cal/OSHA and [INAUDIBLE] that perhaps may be finalized today, have business owners expressed any concern to you whether they're going to be able to track vaccinations of their employees, whether their employees and the restaurant employees will have to wear masks on June 15? What kind of discussions have you had?

GAVIN NEWSOM: Almost daily discussions. And, you know, Jot, you've got someone representing one of the most vibrant industries in the largest state in the world's largest democracy, and he's been at this for decades. Jot, maybe you can answer that more specifically.

JOT CONDIE: Yeah. I mean, certainly Cal/OSHA, their action today will play a huge role in how restaurants, you know, move forward. But certainly our expectation is that, you know, our employees need to feel comfortable and safe in the environment-- their work environment. And certainly we're seeing as consumers come back out to dine indoors and outdoors, we're still seeing that there is a reluctance on behalf of many customers, some who have not been vaccinated yet, and we're hoping to see everybody get vaccinated.

But the face masks at this point, in many respects, go towards a lot of consumer confidence in restaurants. So it's important for us. Our top priority as an industry is the safety and well-being of our employees. And until we get to a critical mass-- and our expectation is the face-mask requirement will last perhaps longer than June 15.

GAVIN NEWSOM: And I'll just remind everybody, on June 15, the blueprint is removed. Businesses will not have the restrictions under these colored tiering. All outdoor activities will have no mask requirements. Large-scale indoor activities north of 5,000 on a massive scale will have some requirements around masks and/or vaccines and/or testing. As it relates to the OSHA requirements, we'll see where that lands, and that will be a nuance in between.

- Last question.

- Governor, with the schools coming back, reopening, bigger push to reopen, how are you anticipating handling potential outbreaks among students, especially under 12.

GAVIN NEWSOM: I think we've been--

LONDON BREED: [INAUDIBLE] schools been open, and we haven't had any major outbreaks. So [INAUDIBLE].

GAVIN NEWSOM: So the mayor and I share that same sentiment. We need our kids back in person, full-time instruction period, full stop. On June 30, that is the law in the state of California, midnight June 30, period, full stop.

And just, you know, respect. I appreciate the stress and I appreciate the anxiety, but we haven't seen major outbreaks, and we've had a vast majority of schools have the option to be in person. Many were operating in the midst of the last surge--


GAVIN NEWSOM: --in December and January without significant outbreaks, and so I have all the confidence in the world our capacity to deliver on that and keep our kids safe, keep our paraprofessionals safe, not just our teachers.

- Governor--

- Thank you, everybody.

- --on the Win for the Vax, how are you going to do that tomorrow? Are you going to do that tomorrow? And just answering critics like the Republicans out there who are saying that this is legalized, you know, bribery, et cetera.

GAVIN NEWSOM: Well, I mean, I imagine they're critical of other Republicans as well on that basis. So, you know, this has been-- we had an opportunity the other day to have a governors call with the White House and hear governors bipartisan across the spectrum sharing best practices on giveaways and incentives-- handing out guns, hunting licenses.

You know, I mean across the spectrum. I mean, everybody's doing this in some way, shape, or form. Most states are doing this in some way, shape, or form. So I don't think what we're offering is novel. It's just at a scale that's larger than any other state. By definition, the size and scale of our state is such that we should be doing more.

And again, it's all about iteration. It's about best practices, learning from each other. Some things will work. Some things will fall short of expectations. But these are federal dollars primarily, and these dollars actually were made available with language that came from the Biden administration to encourage states like ours to move in this direction.

And so we want to take advantage of that and see how far this takes us. Tomorrow will be interesting to see how it goes. We are, by the way, sensitive. I got a couple friends of mine on my text or email and said what about my privacy? I don't want to be in the lottery. I said, well, you don't have to. You could say no, but your privacy is protected. And I just want to remind folks that we're not making public the names.

She, of course, is-- yeah, the mayor is like, oh, I'll take their place. But we want folks to know this. We're not going to announce anybody's names without their permission [INAUDIBLE] because some people were a little nervous about being made public tomorrow. They won't be.

But we encourage-- again, if you don't get vaccinated, you can't participate. So anyone that's been on the fence, this is the moment to do it. Get it done today. Tomorrow you'll get in for next week, June 15. $15 million will be handed out-- $15 million, and you never know. Mayor Breed maybe [INAUDIBLE].

- All right, thank you, everybody.

GAVIN NEWSOM: Thank you all very, very much.

- Hey, governor--