Santee City Council Passes Emergency Ordinance to Assist Small Businesses and Families

Written by Nicholas Vetrisek

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Santee City Council is doing what it can to help business owners. On April 8, the council unanimously voted to update the March 25 initiative that provided a temporary moratorium on evictions to also include small businesses.

For businesses, the new language added to the ordinance states that landlords cannot evict commercial tenants for nonpayment of rents as a result of the coronavirus. In order to qualify for this, small businesses need to show a decreased business income of 30% or more.

The protection is in place until May 31 to align with Governor Newsom’s statewide eviction moratorium.

“Restaurants, bars, barber shops, nail salons… all the things we have literally shut down. With no ill will, they were shut down because of COVID-19,” Santee City Councilman Rob McNelis said.

Santee has asked many of its stores to close down due to the crisis and according to McNelis, it has caused major problems due to the fact that despite having no customers, businesses still have to make rent.

Santee’s order protecting those unable to pay their rent is for people with “financial impacts related to COVID-19,” such as business closures and other economic consequences of the virus.

The order will also protect families who abide by the stay at home order, but have “extraordinary out-of-pocket” medical or childcare costs. 

Santee leaders taking action to help local businesses and those struggling with healthcare bills is admirable, but if the closures continue for much longer, there will be a far bigger crisis at hand.