Palm Springs restaurant owners call for financial aid from city during COVID-19 closure

PALM SPRINGS —Restaurant owners gathered in front of Palm Springs City Hall on Thursday evening calling on the city to provide them financial support during the COVID-19 closure.

In a letter signed by a half dozen local restaurant owners states that they understand the need for the closure and are supportive of any initiatives to keep the workplace and customers safe and healthy. However, they say they won’t be able to stay in business on just take-out and delivery without assistance

“We stand today in unity: owners, chefs, managers, hosts, servers, bartenders, bussers, dishwashers, as a community that has suffered great losses not just financially but of co-workers, friends and family, the letter states

Restaurant owners says they the only sector that has had to invest tens of thousands of dollars to make outside dining safe and comply with guidelines and yet are again the first to be completely shut down.

“We can no longer continue to operate with take-out-only or be closed without assistance.” the letter states. “Our livelihoods our ability to provide homes for our families and food on the table is now at stake and needs to be considered.”

Restaurant owners say they are not asking to reopen outside or inside dining immediately. Instead, they are asking to work together to create a plan that will allow them to be back in business as soon as possible.

“We understand this is a crisis moment and we all need to do our part to keep ICU beds open for those who need them but we all need to work together under the same parameters for us to continue moving forward,” the letter states. “We are asking for the arbitrary enforcement of the rules to end.”

Restaurant owners are also asking for financial assistance from the city to help them “survive this difficult time.”

“This city is built on our visitors. We know our worth and the importance of our businesses to this city. If we close more restaurants, less people come here. The taxes that the city collects on hotel rooms and travel will significantly drop and stay there. It will destroy this beautiful community that is our workplaces and our homes. Many of us have been part of the rebuilding of Palm Springs over the past 15 years. We have been constant supporters of charities and have given much back to our community. We also know that should we fail, someone else will come, rebuild and carry on but we feel we have earned the right to have a chance to survive and we cannot do this without your help.”

Restaurant owners are asking the City Council  to look at the $3 million budgeted for the new downtown park. Times have changed since August when it seemed things were opening up, restaurant owner maintain.

“Our industry is in a state of emergency,” the letter states. “Our employees and businesses are in an even more critical position then early in the pandemic.”

They are asking to meet as soon as possible with everyone on city council to discuss the re-appropriation of these city funds to help the restaurant community and its employees to regain their footing and go back to fully serving the community when the time is right.

They are asking that those who voted to spend an additional $3 million dollars on the Downtown Park re-evaluate their position and instead consider restaurant owners, families, their shelter, and their lives “a greater necessity.”

In August, Councilmembers Grace Garner, Christy Holstege and Dennis Woods voted to proceed with the original, fully funded plans for the park—overturning a decision made two months prior to scale back those plans and save the city about $3 million. Lisa Middleton and Mayor Geoff Kors disagreed.

We are ready to create a collaboration that will inspire other cities to do the same and continue to change our industry and lives for the better, owners state,

Palm Springs restaurant owners who signed the letter include:

Mindy Reed, Zin American Bistro, Revel Public House
Liz Ostoich, Farm, TacQuila
Chad Gardner, Roly China Fusion, 533 Viet Fusion
Gabe Terrado, LuLu California Bistro
Johannes Bacher, Johannes
Dennis Costa & Tom Beatty, Bouschet Wine

Image Sources

  • Restaurant owners rally: YouTube