BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer
Palo Alto is holding group meetings with local businesses about their COVID-19 economic situations. The meetings are not open to the broader public or reporters.
City Manager Ed Shikada said at a town hall that the meetings are a “tremendous” opportunity to get feedback from businesses so the city can decide where to focus its relief efforts. He said the city is focused on trying to help businesses to recover after the stay-at-home order ends.
The Post asked to observe the meet ings but was refused. Shikada said the Post could participate as a local business, but could not quote anything said at the meeting since having it on the record might make participants be less candid.
The first meeting was held Friday (April 24) morning on Zoom. Others were held on Saturday and Tuesday.
Shikada said a range of companies of different sizes were invited to join the meetings. He said the city used its business list and advertised the business meetings during city council meetings to try and get an inclusive list of participants. Shikada said he will release a list of participants after the meetings are finished.
Restaurants, retail hard hit
He said businesses who want to participate can email him and he will try to get them a virtual seat at the table.
Councilwomen Alison Cormack and Liz Kniss participated in the meetings. Kniss said it seems like restaurants and retail are suffering the most.
She said she listened to business owners discuss the problems they face. She said she didn’t hear anything at the meeting that gave her a clear sense of what the city should do to fix the business situation.
Kniss said participants were sent into breakout sessions of 3-4 people and were told to discuss the worst part of the COVID-19 crisis and one challenge that they have been able to put into a new perspective.