The Riverside County Economic Recovery Task Force is on a mission.
“We want to open as many Riverside County businesses and get as many Riverside County residents back to work in a safe and responsible and thoughtful fashion,” says Lou Monville, the chair of the task force.
Joshua Bonner, the vice chair says their short term goal is, ” … to enter into what’s being called an accelerated phase two which would allow us to open up more businesses withing Riverside County.”
The task force reviewed a report from the Coachella Valley Economic partnership that shows the valley’s grim economic outlook. Unemployment was 7 percent before the pandemic.
“We’re looking at unemployment right now in Coachella valley that exceeds 30 percent, that’s a huge number, we’re looking at the closing of up to 4,000 or more businesses in the Coachella Valley over the coming weeks and months,” says Bonner.
Their plan needs the governor’s approval to move forward, but they must meet the criteria set by the state which includes no COVID deaths in 14 days.
Monville says the county already meets federal guidelines and, “… they’re ahead of the curve on testing, they’re ahead of the curve on monitoring, we’re in a good position.”
The plan includes securing personal protective equipment, sanitizing products for businesses and helping them operate in the new normal.
“We feel a huge responsibility, to start with if you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business,” says Bonner adding that working on the health crisis and the economic crisis it sparked can’t be mutually exclusive, “a lot of businesses simply won’t open up because they will have gone out of business during the process of this phase reopening so that’s why we feel a sense of urgency to try to work with the health department and work with the county to try to get our business community back open and get people back employed as quickly as we can.”