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Governor Visits Barrio Logan Business, Is Told 'We’re Having Issues'

Tocumbo Ice Cream owner Omar Ramirez talks with Governor Gavin Newsom (right) and San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas (center), Feb. 8, 2021.
San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas
Tocumbo Ice Cream owner Omar Ramirez talks with Governor Gavin Newsom (right) and San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas (center), Feb. 8, 2021.

Nearly a year after pandemic-related restrictions first hit businesses, there are still limits on many indoor operations. This week, a San Diego business owner was able to talk one-on-one with the man making those decisions.

"He got a lemonade — lemonade with chia," said Omar Ramirez who along with his family owns Tocumbo Ice Cream.

Governor Visits Barrio Logan Business, Is Told 'We’re Having Issues'
Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

Ramirez said he got a call on Super Bowl Sunday, asking if Gov. Gavin Newsom could come by the next day. Ramirez applied for business relief grant through the state and was recently awarded $15,000. Newsom was in town Monday visiting the Petco Park vaccination site, then hit Tocumbo's Barrio Logan location with San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas.

RELATED: Newsom Says Deal To Reopen Schools Could Arrive By Friday

Ramirez said he is not a political guy and the whole encounter was pretty quick, but he did have the governor's ear for a few minutes.

"He asked some questions, how we were doing and I told him we’re having issues with employees and low sales," Ramirez said. "Hard to keep small businesses when you’re not making any sales. He said he’s trying to work on something."

Ramirez said the Newsom told him he is looking to increase the state's small business grant fund. More than $500 million was allocated for the program, and while applications are currently closed additional funds are expected soon.

VIDEO: Governor Visits Barrio Logan Business, Is Told ‘We’re Having Issues’

"It was pretty easy," Ramirez said about the application process. "It was a lot easier than the applications for the federal grants."

Ramirez said anything helps right now.

This week the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to add an additional $30 million to the county's business relief fund, but those grants are available yet. They are contingent on future relief coming from the state or federal government.

Community clinics will be critical to getting vaccines to neighborhoods most affected by COVID-19. The Biden Administration says it will be sending vaccine shipments directly to community clinics starting next week. Plus, the local plan to reopen schools. Also, UC San Diego Craft Center is hosting Afrofuturism Dream Tank this weekend for Black History Month.