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Newsom: Some State Workers Will Not Return To Downtown Sacramento Offices

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke to CBS13's Steve Large in a one-on-one interview ahead of his big $75 billion budget surplus spending plan Friday.

Newsom sat down to talk about small business help, and he also talked about small businesses suffering in downtown Sacramento with so many state workers now working remotely.

The governor answered questions about whether downtown businesses will get a post-pandemic return of the full state work force.

Steve Large: "State worker foot traffic is down. There's teleworking now that's become part of everyday life. Will state workers ever be back in downtown Sacramento?"

Newsom: "They're going to be back, but perhaps not at the numbers, or the same work styles, same arrangements we've seen in the past."

Newsom announced that flexible work schedules, and working from home, will be part of the "new normal" for state workers.

Downtown Sacramento state office space will be reduced.

Newsom: "Look, tomorrow I'll announce that we're going to codify 5 percent efficiencies across the board, at a time of surplus does not mean you are not frugal in terms of addressing waste and opportunities to consolidate an office space."

Steve: "Do you think businesses will have to adopt a 3.0 [new business model] as it relates to less foot traffic from state workers?"

Newsom: "Think businesses. What's remarkable about businesses is the entrepreneurial mindset, you know inspiration, desperation. You're inspired to open a business, you're desperate to keep it open."

Oliver Ridgeway owns the downtown restaurant Camden Spit and Larder just blocks from the California State Capitol.

"As far as them coming back, you know we want them to come back," Ridgeway said.

His restaurant survived the pandemic. A return of all state workers would help his bottom line.

Full Interview With Gov. Newsom

Steve Large's Full Interview With Gov. Gavin Newsom by CBS Sacramento on YouTube

"I think people are comfortable in the workplace, so obviously the leadership over in the government has to figure out what normal is. They're talking about getting back to normal come June 15 or whatever, so people staying at home, that's not too normal," Ridgeway said.

In Downtown Sacramento, post-COVID, the governor is forecasting a new look with less reliance on state workers.

Newsom: "I think that resilience will create something much more dynamic, much more dramatic, in terms of recovery, and I think it is a very positive thing, ultimately, when I think about downtowns like Sacramento and think about the vibrancy of some of our urban centers across the state."

The state telework policy is still in negotiations with unions. Newsom did say he will be setting aside money so many state employees can set up home offices.

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