One of the industries that has suffered the most throughout the pandemic has been the restaurant industry. Multiple shut-downs have lead to restaurants having to shut down, and as we've all seen as of late, most are having a difficult time finding staffing.
Some restaurants, like New Happy Seafood Restaurant, relied on large banquets that could seat up to 500 people to keep the business afloat. With a pandemic that limits parties to six, the owner says she was only able to offer take-out and lost 80% of her business.
And she's not the only one struggling.
There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as the mask mandate is set to be lifted on June 15th, as well as other orders from the Governor, which have allowed larger groups to start congregating both in and outdoors. But on the heels of what seems to be good news, coming up on June 1st, State officials will be voting on a new bill that will require (new) buildings to use electricity as their energy source.
Jennifer Venema, City of Sacramento's Interim Climate Action Lead explains:
"This means no natural gas, no propane infrastructure... Building electrification is one of the key strategies to getting towards our climate goals, in addition to improving the air quality. Sacramento has some of the worst air quality in the nation. This is how we stop burning fuels that make our kids sick and that keep our air dirty. This is about building clean, affordable, and reliable infrastructure that will be sustained for years to come."
This is set to affect new businesses only, however proposes an immediate issue for any new Asian restaurants, which rely heavily on cooking on woks and open flame. Frank Louie, Executive Director of the Stockton Boulevard Partnership (which represents nearly 500 business in South Sacramento) had this to say:
"The wok range generates about 110k BTUS. Electric induction cooktops ... put out 50,000 BTUs. To get the results of our cuisine, we have an open flame."
More specifically, as the owner of New Happy Seafood Restaurant explains:
"You can't roast a pig on electricity. You have to roast a pig on gas."
Additionally, if an existing restaurant (cooking over gas) were to try to expand to a new building for more space or add an additional restaurant elsewhere in the city, the new buildings would be subjected to this potential ordinance. This ordinance could potentially halt growth for restaurateurs, who are in desperate need of any help coming out of this pandemic.