County Supervisors Vote to Remain Aligned with State’s Reopening Plan, Request State Guidance for Meeting Industry

RIVERSIDE – After a lengthy discussion, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors this afternoon decided to stay the course on the state’s reopening framework and to ask the state to develop guidance to help the hotel meeting industry and wedding receptions resume.

Riverside County Board Chair V. Manuel Perez joined his colleagues in voting for the substitute motion. The substitute motion, which passed 4-1, keeps Riverside County consistent with the state’s reopening plan in order to not deviate from that, which could have put at risk critical funding that helps communities and residents of Riverside County.

“I believe that the vote today keeps Riverside County on a positive course, as we continue our responsibility to the public health of our residents,” Supervisor Perez said in a prepared statement. “As a county, we do not have the authority or the jurisdiction to move into different phases of reopening without the state’s approval. Today, we prevented what could have been a self-inflicted injury. Moving forward, we will continue to work with the state government, as we are doing in support of our hospitality and tourism industry when it comes to meetings.”

Supervisor Perez was successful in adding a motion directing county staff to work with the California Department of Public Health to seek guidance and clarity regarding hotel meetings.

Hoteliers and the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau expressed testimony that the meeting industry is moving to other states, such as Arizona and Nevada that allow meetings of 25 or more attendees. The hospitality sector in the Coachella Valley has been hard-hit in this pandemic with an estimated unemployment rate of over 50 percent.

“Tourism and hospitality are vital to the Coachella Valley and Riverside County as a whole. I look forward to working with the state to provide more guidance to the hotel industry so group meetings can resume, with the highest standards of safety in place,” Perez said.

On a separate agenda item, the supervisors today voted to allocate $1.5 million to create a tourism support program to help the tourism industry rebuild. Tourism industry groups including the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau will submit a proposed action plan to the county on how the funds could be utilized for the short- and long-term recovery of the industry in all parts of the county.