SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A veterans’ organization is asking Governor Newsom to allow the state’s veterans’ posts and halls to reopen. It says the establishments help connect vets to essential services.

Post and halls up and down the state have been closed since March due to the pandemic. They have liquor licenses, and, as a result, have been classified as bars — something the California State Commanders Veterans Council (CSCVC) says is a mistake on the state’s part.

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In a letter sent to the Governor last week, members of the Council argued the posts serve to connect vets to services and benefits like healthcare, mental health services, and job training.

“California’s veterans’ posts play a critical role in connecting our state’s veterans with the benefits and services they need. They also aid homeless veterans, connect veterans dealing with depression and PTSD to counseling, and provide meals for disabled and homebound veterans. The closure of our posts has had a direct and negative impact on the ability of veterans’ service officers to help our veterans,” said Ed Grimsley, State Commander, American Legion, Dept. of California.

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Veterans’ posts reportedly help veterans navigate and apply for benefits. Since the posts have been shut down, there has been a decrease in claims for veteran disability and pension benefits, said John G. Lowe, State Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California.

“From March to September, the VFW Service Department saw a drop of over 850 veterans’ claims – a decrease of $2.2 million owned to veterans and their families for their service,” said Lowe.

The state reports that the positivity rate for COVID-19 has increased .8% to 3.7% for the 14-day average.

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