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It’s been a long, difficult year for restaurants like New Happy Seafood Restaurant on Stockton Boulevard.”You have to learn how to juggle very well,” said co-owner Fiona Duong, who has run the business with her family for over a decade. The pandemic nearly cost her everything. Happy Seafood relied heavily on being able to serve hundreds of customers a night in their expansive banquet room, which normally seats up to 500 people. Duong says since the pandemic, she’s lost 80% of her business, and can offer take-out only. “Any further undue financial burden would cause economic distress,” added Frank Louie, Executive Director of the Stockton Boulevard Partnership, which represents nearly 500 businesses in South Sacramento. State officials plan to reopen California in June, putting an end to social distancing and capacity limits on restaurants. But the future remains uncertain for restaurants like Duong’s, which rely on natural gas. On June 1, Sacramento city council could adopt a new ordinance, which would require new buildings to use electricity as their source of power. “This means no natural gas, no propane infrastructure,” explained Jennifer Venema, City of Sacramento’s Interim Climate Action Lead.The issue at hand: Many Asian restaurants run on the centuries-old practice of cooking over an open-flame.”The wok range generates about 110k BTUS,” explained Louie. “Electric induction cooktops … put out 50,000 BTUs, or British Thermal Units. To get the results of our cuisine, we have an open flame.”City representatives said, the ordinance is meant to help fight climate change.”Building electrification is one of the key strategies to getting towards our climate goals, in addition to improving the air quality,” said Venema. “Sacramento has some of the worst air quality in the nation.”The ordinance would also apply only to new buildings. “This is how we stop burning fuels that make our kids sick and that keep our air dirty,” added Venema. “This is about building clean, affordable, and reliable infrastructure that will be sustained for years to come.”But opponents say, the move would bar new restaurants that prepare dishes with natural gas from entering the market. And Duong says, the ordinance could also prevent her from expanding to a newer space.”You can’t roast a pig on electricity. You have to roast a pig on gas,” she said. “We are all in support of lowering greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2030,” added Louie. They’re simply hoping for a different solution to get there.

It’s been a long, difficult year for restaurants like New Happy Seafood Restaurant on Stockton Boulevard.

“You have to learn how to juggle very well,” said co-owner Fiona Duong, who has run the business with her family for over a decade. The pandemic nearly cost her everything.

Happy Seafood relied heavily on being able to serve hundreds of customers a night in their expansive banquet room, which normally seats up to 500 people. Duong says since the pandemic, she’s lost 80% of her business, and can offer take-out only.

“Any further undue financial burden would cause economic distress,” added Frank Louie, Executive Director of the Stockton Boulevard Partnership, which represents nearly 500 businesses in South Sacramento.

State officials plan to reopen California in June, putting an end to social distancing and capacity limits on restaurants. But the future remains uncertain for restaurants like Duong’s, which rely on natural gas. On June 1, Sacramento city council could adopt a new ordinance, which would require new buildings to use electricity as their source of power.

“This means no natural gas, no propane infrastructure,” explained Jennifer Venema, City of Sacramento’s Interim Climate Action Lead.

The issue at hand: Many Asian restaurants run on the centuries-old practice of cooking over an open-flame.

“The wok [gas] range generates about 110k BTUS,” explained Louie. “Electric induction cooktops … put out 50,000 BTUs, or British Thermal Units. To get the results of our cuisine, we have an open flame.”

City representatives said, the ordinance is meant to help fight climate change.

“Building electrification is one of the key strategies to getting towards our climate goals, in addition to improving the air quality,” said Venema. “Sacramento has some of the worst air quality in the nation.”

The ordinance would also apply only to new buildings.

“This is how we stop burning fuels that make our kids sick and that keep our air dirty,” added Venema. “This is about building clean, affordable, and reliable infrastructure that will be sustained for years to come.”

But opponents say, the move would bar new restaurants that prepare dishes with natural gas from entering the market. And Duong says, the ordinance could also prevent her from expanding to a newer space.

“You can’t roast a pig on electricity. You have to roast a pig on gas,” she said.

“We are all in support of lowering greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2030,” added Louie.

They’re simply hoping for a different solution to get there.

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