We want an immediate economic aid package for the Hospitality Industry.

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Dear State Representatives,

We, the United States Bartenders Guild: San Francisco Chapter, represent the tens of thousands of hospitality workers in the city, all of which help make the great state of California what it is: a lauded bastion for prosperity and vigor.

Our professions have been around in some form, since the earliest record of fermentation, and we have happily been a touchstone oasis for the general population ever since. But these times we’re in, however, are unprecedented. With your well-intended and responsible judgment, our entire industry has been put on furlough. And while we understand that this was necessary from a public safety perspective, our industry has not seen these sorts of forced layoffs since Prohibition over a hundred years ago.

According to the National Restaurant Association, our industry accounts for 4 percent % of GDP (a projected $899 billion dollars for 2020) and employs one in ten working Americans— that’s (15.6 million people, to be more exact). In our state alone, the National Restaurant Association says our industry employs over 1.8 million Californians with an overall revenue of $97 billion dollars. In the Governor’s statement to the public, Newsom says: “We recognize that social isolation for millions of Californians is anxiety-inducing, but we recognize what all of the science bears out and what we recognize around the rest of the world that we need to meet this moment head-on and lean in, not isolate ourselves to this moment, but lean in and own this moment and take actions that we think are commensurate with the need to protect the most vulnerable Californians.,”

We couldn’t agree more. We need to lean into the relief efforts to help bolster this blow to some of the most vulnerable Californians. And I can attest; our industry is utterly anxious about the days — weeks, months — to come. As a community that has dealt with disproportionately low wages, extremely small percentages in homeownership, incredibly high rent, and virtually no paid sick leave, we are suffering.

Our industry has among the narrowest profit margins in the entire economy. And as the dust settles — in some yet to be determined date — many of us will not have jobs to go back to.

What we need right now is the type of leadership California is known across the nation for. We, as a community and a state, need to take bold action and continue to set the precedent for the rest of the United States. We need a comprehensive aid package for all hourly and salaried workers that are being furloughed by COVID-19. While you are undoubtedly inundated with tough decisions, the United States Bartenders Guild San Francisco Chapter, on behalf of members of the community across the entire state calls on you today to announce shortly what you plan to do for our workers and for our small businesses. Here is a list of proposed changes we endorse:

 

 
  ·         Implement unemployment benefits EQUAL to lost wages to all hourly and salaried workers furloughed during this crisis.

 

·         Reduce or Freeze rents and mortgages for residential and commercial properties affected by COVID-19

 

·         Freeze utility payments for at least two months

 

·         Freeze student loan repayments and interest for at least two months

 

·         Waive early withdrawal penalties for 401k and IRA’s

 

·         Alter existing liquor laws to allow on-premise licenses to sell off-premise

 

·         Eliminate Payroll tax immediately

 

These proposals will be essential for the survival of our industry. Decisions made today will undoubtedly save lives tomorrow.

Signed, members of the USBG SF Chapter: Will Young, Janice Bailon, Larry Piaskowy, Eric Grenier, Karlo Pentic, Ashley Rose Conway, Jenn Ward, Ramon Pino, Debora Fernandez, Martin Geijer

USBG Silicon Valley Chapter: Mary Palac, Patrick Braga

USBG Sonoma/Napa Chapter: Brittney Bedford, Jules Smart, Laura Kanzler, Joel Pfiefle

USBG Los Angeles Chapter 

USBG San Diego Chapter 

 



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