State Assemblyman Chad Mayes (I-Yucca Valley) says it is possible there could soon be even more restrictions and so he's now looking at ways to help small businesses survive.
He joined News Channel 3's Peter Daut during our 6:30 p.m. show on Fox 11 and CBS Local 2 to discuss the pandemic and what he thinks about how its been handles so far.
"Well, I got lots of thoughts, just like everyone. At some level, I think we're all a bit frustrated, but at the same time, we'll have to get through this together. I will say I believe the governor early on came out very early and said, 'Look this is a real crisis before us.' He acted very quickly in the first stay-at-home orders, I praised him for that. We're now several months into that, actually probably four or five months into that. We've seen some hills and valleys and it's very easy to be critical but also somebody that wants to be as constructive as we can. So we've had some challenges, but we're getting through it," Mayes said.
Mayes says he doesn't believe the state has seen the end of restrictions.
"I think that's definitely open. I would have said five weeks ago, four weeks ago, that I didn't think that the state, public health along with the governor, the administration, would shut down and here we are. A couple of days ago, you can't go to restaurants indoor any longer, we've got gyms that are shut down again, and so I think it all depends on what the virus is doing," Mayes told Peter Daut. "I think if the numbers continue to go up, the governor has been very clear that we'll dial the dimmer back down again. Dimmer up, dimmer down. So I don't want to say no because I would have said a few weeks ago that that wasn't going to happen, and he made that decision and we've had had to do that."
On Wednesday, Peter Daut spoke with Joseph Miller, a local small business owner, who says he is on the verge of losing it all. Miller had a message for lawmakers.
"Those small businesses who are able to manage and do the right thing, follow the guidelines, take care of their customers properly, give us the opportunity to do that," Miller said. "The virus isn't going away. Keeping us all closed means the revenue for the state is gone, and the suicide rate's going up, the mental health, I've had three friends that have killed themselves in other states because they wanted to make sure their families were taken care of. How do you tell a 16-year-old her dad had to kill himself because there was no other way? That's unacceptable. There has to be better ways to do this."
Mayes was given the opportunity to respond.
"I completely feel for him. I've been talking to constituents all over the district, small business owners who are struggling. We have incredible unemployment problems, our phones are ringing off the hook on how folks can get unemployment. When we talk about public policy, I will talk about one of the frustrations I did have. Here we open restaurants up, and just before July 4th weekend, we had restaurants that ordered food for a heavy weekend, and a couple days before, they had to shut down the dining rooms and I know that was very frustrating," Mayes said. "We talk about, 'Hey you can go eat outside,' Well it's 118 (degrees) just a few days ago here, and there's not a lot of folks that want to eat outside in 118 degrees so the impact that's having on small businesses is incredible, and we have to be thinking of that. As policy makers as a lawmaker, we have to be thinking about those small businesses, how we can make sure that we get through this pandemic, they can continue to survive."
On that same topic, Peter Daut asked Mayes whether he believes a determination should be based on need.
"Yes, which is why I've been arguing all along that a top-down approach doesn't necessarily work in California. I'm a believer in bottom-up in local government. So, allow cities and counties to be able to make decisions," Mayes said. "I think Riverside County has done a good job. I think San Bernardino County, in my districts, has done a good job. Have they made some mistakes? Sure, sure they have. But I think it's better to have decisions made at the local level. Why? Because it is 118 degrees here in the Coachella Valley. And it might be 68- or 67- degrees in Monterrey. So, when you think about that, having a top-down approach, you're not allowing locals and those different geographical diversity that we've got, by our locals to make those decisions, and I think that's a bit of a shame."
Jimmy Leckliter, a viewer from Cathedral City, sent in a question for the assemblyman.
"What is your office doing to help the citizens of the Coachella Valley during this COVID crisis? I also would like to know, how can your office help nurses in the Coachella Valley provide safe patient care when the local hospitals have applied for a ratio exemption, putting patient safety at risk?"
"In regards to what our office has been doing, I think we've been working, I shouldn't say think, we have been working overtime in responding to unemployment claims. In fact, our phone has been ringing off the hook. We are putting all of our effort in making sure constituents here in the 42nd Assembly District, are able to get in touch with EDD to make sure they can receive unemployment so they get a little bit of help that they deserve," Mayes said. "In regards to hospitals and nurses and those ratios. I know there has been a handful of wavers, that hospitals have gotten, and because I'm not in hospital administration, I don't know exactly the dynamics that are there. It is incredibly important that we make sure that our doctors and our nurses don't get overworked and aren't exhausted, and there's enough of them to provide for the patients that show up at the hospital so I'm also very supportive of that."
Mayes says he would love to help in any way he during these hard times. He invites constituents to call his Rancho Mirage office at 760-346-6342.
Mayes represents the 42nd state district, which spans from as west as Yucaipa, as North as Twentynine Palms region, and valley cities like La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, and Indian Wells.