New Business Task Force Meets with Recovery in Mind

As leaders across the globe struggle to help economies rebound from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Beverly Hills is taking steps to help businesses thrive. In anticipation of the City slowly reopening, the COVID-19 Business Recovery Assistance Task Force held its inaugural meeting on April 28 to consider how best to revitalize the local economy in the wake of mass business closures. 

“I’m confident this task force will provide valuable insight as we rebuild our local economy following this unprecedented event,” said Mayor Lester Friedman. “We know the phrase ‘going back to normal’ is not something that is going to be in our vernacular.” 

“I think there’s a world of strategies out there. Our goal is to hear what people say,” Councilman Julian Gold said at the beginning of the virtual meeting. 

Beginning with this week’s decision by City Council to allow elective surgeries to resume, Beverly Hills will continue to open up further in a phased approach as defined largely by government. 

Just hours before the meeting began, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would begin to lift restrictions on the stay-at-home order in a matter of weeks. 

Comprised of all five Council members and City Treasurer Howard Fisher, the task force also includes the following business and community leaders: Tom Blumenthal, CEO of Gearys Beverly Hills; Giacomino Drago, chef and restaurant owner; Kathy Gohari, general manager of Valentino and past president of the Rodeo Drive Committee; Russell Goldsmith, CEO of City National Bank; Todd Johnson, CEO of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce; Sabaa Kamal, owner of Kamal Beverly Hills; Sandy Murphy, general manager of the Beverly Hilton Hotel; Offer Nissenbaum, general manager of the Peninsula Hotel; Sunny Sassoon, executive chairman of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf; Debbie Quick, attorney with Morgan Lewis LLP; Julie Wagner, CEO of the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau and Bill Wiley, property director for Two Rodeo. 

The task force is expected to make specific recommendations to City Council to help propel the economy forward. The City is asking people to share their expertise and knowledge of various activities and programs that can help by contacting Laura Biery, Economic Sustainability Manager, at 

“Now is the time to think about things that we’ve never thought about to ensure our success and ensure that the future is going to be really very bright for Beverly Hills,” said Councilwoman Lili Bosse. 


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