Written by Juan Sebastian Fragozo
The events industry is one of the many that has been hit hard by the pandemic restrictions imposed by Gov. Newsom. Many people in the industry are projected to lose half of their income due to the circumstances, and while some industries like retail and restaurants are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the event industry’s future is still in darkness and with no helping hand.
With that being said, the County Board of Supervisors is set to consider a proposal to assist the events industry in this troubling time.
The proposal involves waiving events fees for fiscal year 2021-2022 and is expected to be considered by the Board on April 6. If approved, it will reduce the County budget by a total of 1.7 million dollars, which would normally help fund the county’s parks and recreation, department of health, Sheriff’s department, and fire authority. Taking away money from these areas is one of the alternatives that the county sees in order to help the struggling businesses, the severe lockdowns in that state of California have left no other choice.
“Unlike the sectors who were able to operate at limited capacity and bring in some revenue, they could not because of the protections around large gatherings. As the restrictions on events are relaxed, the event industry deserves some financial help.” Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said.
Laurel McFarlane is the owner of Mcfarlane Promotions and President of the San Diego Events Coalition; her company organizes events such as La Mesa Oktoberfest, San Diego Restaurant Week, La Jolla Concours, and a variety of other special events.
“No other industry has been out of work for 13 months.”
“We’ve used our savings … I personally used my son’s college fund, and he’s going off to college this year.” Laurel McFarlane said.
McFarlane said the waiver of fees for events will help them recover, once they can operate again. The state is expected to release some guidelines for the events industry, although it is still unclear which events businesses will be allowed to operate and how. The Events Coalition has been advocating for reopening guidelines and financial aid since last year, but of course, there has been no answer from local government, and even less from Governor Newsom.