Tom Steyer explains latest California campaign to help small businesses during COVID-19 pandemic

The "Calling all Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal" campaign encourages residents to, as the slogan says, shop at local small businesses in one's community, while keeping health and safety in mind.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tom Steyer, chair of California's Economic Recovery Task Force and former presidential candidate, reiterated health should come first as the state begins to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The San Francisco billionaire spoke to ABC7's Kristen Sze and Reggie Aqui on Midday Live Thursday morning to discuss a new campaign to help small business struggling through the pandemic - an effort that supports Gov. Gavin Newsom's plan to put health and safety first as the lawmakers navigate the pandemic.

The "Calling all Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal" campaign encourages residents to, as the slogan says, shop at local small businesses in one's community.

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As part of the campaign, small businesses will have access to additional protective equipment to keep shoppers and employees safe. They will also be given the tools to do more business online, Steyer said.

"We need to support those businesses and those jobs while keeping the workers there safe and their customers safe," Steyer said. "This campaign is about supporting those businesses as we said, shopping safe, shopping local."

When asked whether he thinks Gov. Gavin Newsom reopened too much of California's economy too soon, Steyer was tightlipped.

"I think the governor has said from the beginning two things: Health has to come first and secondly, this is going to be iterative process," he said.

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He emphasized Newsom's plan involved phases on a county-by-county basis with a focus on health if coronavirus cases spiked.

Steyer said as California continues to reopen, the small business campaign, which was launched Wednesday, will run consistent with the governor's message of health and safety first.

"The idea is to get as many people supporting each other and supporting their local businesses and their local communities," Steyer said. "It's entirely consistent with the idea of safety, but it's entirely consistent with the governor's push toward protecting and supporting each other."

Watch the full interview with Steyer above.

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