Mailbag: It’s time for the Orange County board of supervisors to cautiously restart the local economy

Few people are on the sand in Newport Beach near Newport Pier on March 24.
(Daily Pilot)

This is an open letter to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

We write today as entrepreneurs, small business owners, restaurateurs and residents of Orange County to express our grave concern for the county’s economic predicament as a result of the “shelter in” and “non-essential” business shutdown orders from the state and county.

The predicate for the initial shutdowns was the need to “flatten the curve” of infections in order to assure that our healthcare system would not be overwhelmed. However, with each passing day it becomes more evident that the original statistical models driving these drastic measures were flawed and dramatically overstated the risks.

Hoag Hospital was the first hospital in California to treat a COVID-19 patient. During an April 15 video update, a doctor said that infection numbers in the county were stabilizing and appeared to be going down. Another doctor suggested the curve had flattened.

Orange County’s daily COVID-19 infections peaked on April 1 at 104 and has averaged 57 per day through April 19. This successful slowing of the spread of COVID-19 can be largely attributed to the actions of the state and the Board of Supervisors.

We thank the board for its hard work and leadership to protect our community during this crisis. But it has become clear that the status quo is not economically or socially sustainable, even in the short term. The stress of economic devastation and curtailed civil liberties could one day soon become untenable.

State unemployment claims exceed 2.7 million while Orange County claims are in the tens of thousands. As long as we remain in lockdown, these numbers are projected to climb to catastrophic levels. It is time for the supervisors to lead the county and state in economic recovery.

We understand that the board is forming a task force to formulate a safe and responsible plan for reopening the Orange County economy and urge the board to move with the greatest urgency and develop this plan in no more than 10 days. We expect the board will work with the state where possible, but where necessary we urge you to move faster and more broadly as our county statistics dictate.

We understand these decisions are not without health and political risks, but believe the business community and the citizens of the county will offer broad and sustained support. We believe it is possible to protect the health and safety of our communities without bankrupting them as well.

If we act now and put together an aggressive plan to restart the O.C. economy, as well as minimize health risks, then businesses can begin the process of contacting vendors, employees, customers and preparing to smoothly transition and reopen.

We are facing an economic meltdown due to the shutdown. The citizens of Orange County are prepared to continue practicing social distancing and rigorous hygiene protocols. Our residents are smart, industrious and responsible. We urge you to act now for the thousands in Orange County and millions across our state who’ve lost their jobs.

Orange County must get back to work. And the supervisors can and must lead the way. You have our unqualified support.

Dr. Jeffrey Barke
Co-Founder PersonalCare Physicians

Raj Bathal
CEO, Raj Manufacturing Inc.

John and Carolyn Ben
Owners, Aqua Ben Corp.

Steve Borowski
President, Aristotle Capital Management

Scott Bower
2 Guard Inc.

Mark Bucher
CEO, Employers Resource

Jerry Burch
Franchise owner, Nekter Juice Bar

Scott Burnham
CEO, Burnham USA/Burnham-Ward

Dan Callahan
Partner, Callahan & Blaine

Michael D. Capaldi
Partner, Spach, Capaldi & Waggaman LLP

Tim Carr
CEO, Tim Carr Group

Steve Craig
Craig Realty Group

Mark Douglas
CEO, LCP Tracker

Gil Figueroa
Pyramid Fence Co.

Peter Ganahl
CEO, Ganahl Lumber

Jim Glidewell
CEO, Glidewell Laboratories

Bryan Gonzales
Owner, Gonzos Tacos

Michael Harrah
CEO, Caribou Industries

Doy Henley
CEO, Henley Properties

Teresa Hernandez
Vice President, Mariachi Heritage Society

Mario Marovic
Owner, Malarky’s Irish Pub

Matthew D. Morsey
President, Coast Acceptance Corp.

Bill McCullough
President, Pinpoint Media, LLC

Curtis Olson
CEO, Nexus Development Corp.

Robert D. Olson
RD Olson Cos.

Rich Olivas,
Sr. Vice President, SilverWood Landscape

Manuel Ramirez

Dr. Kerry Reynolds
Certified therapist

Ed Susolik
Partner, Callahan & Blaine

Joe Ueberroth
Founder, Bellwether Financial Group

John Warner
President, Lincoln Club

Ron Williams
CEO, Talon Cos.

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.