This weekend marks the beginning of our remembrance for our fallen military heroes: Memorial Day. This holiday began as Decoration Day after the Civil War. It became a federal holiday in 1971. This usually sunny weekend also marks the unofficial beginning of summer. We find somber respect and joyful warm weather activities juxtapositioned in this uniquely American celebration. This is appropriate since it is for our peace and safety that our heroes have fought and died. I feel a responsibility to them to preserve, not squander, that peace and safety. We all should.
The Governor has provided our county flexibility in re-opening our local economy, always with an eye towards public safety and managing COVID-19 infections. We have moved into late Phase 2 conditions, which means we can visit our favorite stores and restaurants again. They will implement COVID-19 safety measures to assure your safety. We all need to observe these safeguards to make sure we can continue to re-open our economy. For a list of stores re-opening under county health guidelines please check pasostrong.org.
At the Paso Robles City Council meeting recently we decided to step up information and education campaigns regarding best practices and involve our business community in getting the word out. We want our businesses to be healthy, and that means our customers have to be healthy. I know the people of Paso Robles are intelligent and compassionate. Response to compliance complaints will consist mostly of counseling by community patrol representatives. There will be no heavy-handed tactics. They won’t be needed. Just as we banded together to save water, we will band together to protect lives and encourage business.
The Council has also approved a program to allow a portion of the downtown city park to be used as a dining area for local restaurants. This will be managed by the Chamber of Commerce and restaurants will be responsible for setup and clean-up. They will bring in additional tables and benches so the general public will not be deprived of the use of the park. We are also discussing the possibility of restaurant parklets; small areas on the streets in front of restaurants where diners can eat while maintaining social distancing. This will have long-term impacts on parking and other traffic, so a little more study is necessary.
The backdrop to all city activity right now is the budget. We expect significant reductions in revenues and our reserves, healthy though they are, won’t carry us for the long haul. We have directed staff to update our lay-off protection efforts, prioritizing any needed staff position and compensation reductions. We will also be re-opening discussions with labor unions and trimming capital improvement projects. We need to save about $7-million per year and seek new revenues to get us through. I’m confident we will be able to do that.
Until next we blog, stay informed, stay involved and stay strong Paso Robles.