Comedy Palace sign
The Comedy Palace in Kearney Mesa is said to be losing $90,000 a month due to restrictions imposed by public health orders. Photo via Twitter @comedypalace.

Councilman Chris Cate sent a letter Monday to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking for San Diego to be allowed to restart some entertainment industry events, such as live comedy shows that would be held outdoors.

Meanwhile, more than 630 people have signed an 8-day-old petition calling for outdoor comedy clubs.

“Places of worship are allowed to conduct services outdoors and operate similar to comedy clubs, albeit on a more serious topic,” said the petition. “There is one speaker, in front of an audience, that should be socially distanced, sharing his or her beliefs / views with those in attendance. Why should comedy clubs be treated differently?”

With San Diego’s removal from the state’s COVID-19 watch list, Cate also requested that the County of San Diego re-evaluate its public health orders to allow entertainment venues to safely operate outdoors in a socially distant setting for performances lasting no longer than one hour.

“One industry on the verge of collapse is our entertainment industry, particularly comedy clubs,” Cate wrote. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, The Comedy Palace in Kearny Mesa has lost more than $90,000 per month. This industry helps stimulate our local economy and provides much needed laughter during these challenging times.”

San Diego’s entertainment industry is largely comprised of small businesses that collectively employ thousands of people. According to Cate’s office, while many live entertainment businesses have licenses to operate as restaurants, their main source of revenue is through ticket sales.

He said that in the comedy industry, shows are typically 45 minutes to an hour long, comparable to the typical restaurant table turnover time of 50-60 minutes.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our regional economy. It is my goal to help all businesses navigate these trying times so they can continue to put food on the tables for their guests and their families,” said Cate, chair of the city’s economic development and intergovernmental relations committee.

— City News Service contributed to this report