Legislative Updates

The Chamber’s Policy & International Business Affairs teams compile a comprehensive legislative update on the latest regulations and government changes in response to COVID-19 each Thursday. Those updates will be posted here each week. This page will also be updated on an as-needed basis with critical information as it becomes available.


August 6 – Weekly Update

Happy August! It’s the official ‘back to school’ season. Though this year, it’s quite different. This week, the State published new guidance for reopening of elementary schools. Despite the fact that San Diego and many of other counties across the state remain on the COVID-19 watch list, elementary schools within counties with fewer than 200 cases per 100,000 people can now apply for a waiver to reopen for in-person learning. San Diego Unified, which announced last month that schools in the district will begin the school year with online-only learning, has not announced whether or not they will apply for waiver. Yesterday, Poway Unified School District announced the major decision to remain fully virtual through December. The county is currently working on a template for the waiver process and expects to release it by the end of the week. The waiver will first have to be submitted to our local public health officer for approval before going to the state Department of Public Health.

Legislative Update:
Federal:
  

Last week, the Senate released its Phase Four coronavirus stimulus package. Called the “Heals Act,” it differs dramatically from the House-passed “Heroes Act.” The US Chamber published a side-by-side comparison between the two proposals, also highlighting the Chamber’s priorities. This week, Politico reported that the Trump administration is debating a series of executive orders related to COVID relief amidst the lack of congressional action.

Tomorrow is the last day to apply for a PPP Loan! If your business is qualified for the loan and has not yet applied, contact your banking institution and the San Diego and Imperial SBDC ASAP! The PPP Loan program will likely be extended in the Phase Four stimulus package, however, it is unknown when congress will come to an agreement.

International:

The Mexican federal government announced that the school year will begin August 24 and take place remotely until further notice to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. The instruction excludes higher education, with universities to determine when and how to resume studies based on local circumstances. The Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) signed a collaboration agreement with multiple television networks and radio stations which will broadcast educational programs nationwide. In addition, SEP will continue to provide free textbooks to students enrolled in public schools (grades K-9) and is developing a strategic plan to support working single parents.

In Baja, the Secretariat of Sustainable Economy and Tourism (SEST) signed a memorandum of understanding with Baja Health Cluster in an effort to reactivate medical tourism in the region. The agreement will facilitate data sharing; joint research to further understand the demand of health services across the state; specialized training for health professionals; and increased collaboration to promote medical tourism. In addition, SEST announced the reopening of public places including local pools and places of worship up to 25 and 30 percent of capacity respectively.

Health and safety checkpoints enforcing stay at home orders remain in place at the Ensenada and Mexicali city access points and those across the city in Ensenada. This includes the Calexico West, Calexico East, and Andrade/Algodones land ports of entry, where checkpoints will be operating from Friday, August 7 at 2:00pm to Sunday, August 9 at 8:00pm. Authorities will verify the use of face coverings, confirm that the trip’s purpose is essential, and conduct temperature checks for each passenger. Please note that there is also a limit of two passengers per vehicle crossing southbound through Mexicali’s land ports of entry.

State:

The Senate is considering AB 685: Occupational Safety: COVID-19 exposure: notification, that would require employers to notify employees within a 24 hour period of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. If employers knowingly fail to notify employees it would result in a misdemeanor.

The bill passed the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee yesterday with a 4-1 vote and it has been re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations. Here’s a good overview.

Tomorrow, the Senate’s Public Safety Committee is set to take up several police reform measures, including a bill to ban chokeholds and carotid restraints, a bill disqualifying law enforcement officers who use excessive force, and a bill requiring the Department of Justice conduct independent investigations of police shootings.

Local:

Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted to allocate additional CARES Act funding and approved a plan to ramp up enforcement of the public health order. This includes $25 million for child care, $18.8 million for the Great Plates Delivered Program and other food service programs, and $5 million for testing, tracing, and treatment strategies for K-12 schools (if schools are permitted for in person instruction). The BOS also voted to add testing sites to the U.S./Mexico border, focusing on testing essential workers. Finally, the BOS allocated an additional $3.5 million for the small business stimulus grant program to specifically focus on restaurants (each supervisorial district will receive about $700,000).  The county’s 24/7 Healthy Compliance Call Center is live and the public can report violations of the public health order. The BOS approved funding for additional compliance staff. The county will have 35 dedicated staff members for enforcement of  the public health order (as opposed to law enforcement enforcing it).

Yesterday, the County BOS unanimously approved Supervisor Jacob’s proposal to allow places of worship, gyms, and other fitness-oriented businesses to operate in county parks. Permit fees will be waived and the County Department of Parks and Recreation will review applications. Also yesterday, the county reported case investigations are at 73% (the goal is 90% within a 24 hour period). This correlates to the county’s hiring of additional case investigators.

As reported in last week’s legislative update, the county now requires employers to notify employees of a COVID-19 outbreak that occurred at a physical work location when three or more cases occur within a 14 day period. Businesses are also required to report COVID-19 positive cases to the County Department of Public Health and cooperate with the county’s COVID-19 response team for contact tracing. The public health order can be viewed here and a helpful flowchart for what to do for a  suspected or COVID-19 positive employee can be viewed here.

Across the region, enforcement actions have been mounting on parties and persons who fail to comply with the state’s shutdown orders. San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan brought forward five misdemeanor charges against a business owner in Ramona for violating the county’s public health order.

Meanwhile, in Del Mar, there is a new pilot program coming online following a 4-1 vote on Tuesday in favor of a proposal brought forward by council member Dwight Worden and Del Mar Mayor Ellie Haviland. The proposal calls for sheriff’s deputies to patrol the city, engage in education efforts and issue citations for those not in compliance with rules and best practices designed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved two measures to provide additional relief to small and underserved businesses. The council voted to finalize Mayor Faulconer’s previous executive order, allowing businesses to operate on private parking lots, sidewalks, and street parking and specified that $700,000 of the City’s Small Business Relief Fund will be granted to businesses in historically underserved communities.

San Diego City Council also approved a middle-income density bonus in an attempt to spur the construction of homes designed to be affordable for San Diegans who qualify as “middle income”. Middle income is defined as 80% to 120% of an area’s median income, which rose to $92,700 in San Diego this spring.

Capital Opportunities & Resources:

  • The City of Escondido has partnered with the San Diego North Economic Development Council to administer the Small Business Grant Program to Escondido small businesses. Learn more here.
  • City of San Diego Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit – Businesses (restaurants, retail stores, gyms, hair salons, nail salons) can now expand into the public right-of-way, parking lots, and public spaces. Information on how to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit can be found here.
  • City of San Diego’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program is accepting applications through August 7. More information on how to apply can be found here.
  • San Diego County Small Business Stimulus Grant – Businesses must have fewer than 100 employees, be headquartered in San Diego County, have 1-year operating history, and have experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to be eligible. Apply here.

o    Applications are due on the following dates:

  • District 1 – August 14
  • District 2- August 15
  • District 5 – August 7
  • Districts 3 & 4 – October 16
  • Supervisor Fletcher (District 3) is working with Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific Islander business organizations to encourage small businesses in those communities to apply.
  • Calling All Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal – A new state-wide website with resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs, including a digital medial toolkit, quick links to industry guidance, direct access to PPE, and free business consulting through the Small Business Development Center network.
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – PPP funds are still available. The deadline to apply for a PPP Loan was extended to August 8. Find a financial lender to apply for funds here.

o    The San Diego and Imperial SBDC has developed a webinar on PPP Loan Forgiveness. Watch it on-demandhere.

  • Businesses can also reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide to help business owners navigate through the chaos COVID-19 is having on our communities. SBDC can help with applying for relief, guiding you through available resources and assisting with cash flow concerns, supply-chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage, and more–all at no cost.
  • The State Treasurer’s Office has published this list of Federal, State, Local, Private, and Non-profit resources available to small businesses.
  • Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce Relief Fund – Black-owned businesses can apply for funding and technical assistance here. Email questions and concerns to info@sdblackchamber.org

International Business Affairs:

IBA Forums

In partnership with the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. and PCM Corporativo, the Chamber hosted a webinar focused on trade and exporting tools and how to navigate the cross-border landscape. To learn more about how trade finance solutions can help mitigate risk in today’s business climate, expand sales in new or existing markets, and leverage complementing resources available in our Cali-Baja region, click here for a recording of the webinar and here to download the presentation.

This month’s Forum will feature a discussion on the economic impact of the immigrant population in San Diego and efforts to advance their civic, social, and economic integration. The meeting will take place virtually on Thursday, August 20 at 10:00am. For more information, or to register, please visit our website.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy changes

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the following changes to DACA effective immediately: rejection of all new DACA applications including employment authorizations and renewed applications and employment authorization documents are now only approved for one year instead of the two-year period previously granted.

DHS is currently undertaking a review regarding the future of DACA and released a memorandum outlining areas of concern. However, across the nation, there is great support for the DACA program including from the business community. Nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, are a vital part of the U.S. economy and 45,000 of them call San Diego their home. Nearly a third of all DACA recipients are essential workers helping communities through this pandemic and 29,000 are health care professionals working on the front lines.

The Chamber has issued letters in support of the DACA program and urges Congress to take up legislation to make this program permanent and prevent future uncertainty for our communities and economy.

SANDAG released a Cycle 11 Call for Projects through the Specialized Transportation Grant Program. Applicants who provide transportation services for seniors and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. “Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, purchase of accessible vans and buses, coordinated volunteer driver programs, shopping shuttle services, non-emergency medical trips, and transit travel training classes. The call for projects is open for a 90-day period. Applications are due by 4 p.m. on October 30, 2020.” More information can be found here.


July 30 – Weekly Update

Today Congressman John Lewis was laid to rest in Atlanta, Georgia. In a final essay published today, he urged us all to, “answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.” He also reminds us:

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

With less than 100 days until the November election, you can take a moment to check your voter registration or register to vote here. Rest in peace, Congressman. Click here to read this week’s full update.


July 23 – Weekly Update

As you may well know, masks have been a ‘thing’ here in San Diego long before the COVID-19 pandemic. While large in-person events are still off the table for now, the innovative spirit of the organizers of Comic-Con is undefeated. As with all good superhero stories, the good guys win in the end and loyal convention-goers have had their tradition rescued. All scheduled panels for this year’s event are available to be streamed online, on-demand. Here’s a list of the top 5 most anticipated panels attendees can tune into today. Click here to read this week’s full update.


July 16 – Weekly Update

Click here to read this week’s full update.


July 9 – Weekly Update

Thank you to all who were able to join us for our 2020 Congressional Conversation this afternoon! Our San Diego delegation spoke candidly on a wide array of topics facing our nation, including police reform, the COVID-19 pandemic, health care, and immigration.

It was a great event to break up a tough week for San Diego, as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to grow throughout the region. Restaurants and other establishments were ordered to close indoor operations (more information below) and any additional reopening is delayed until August 1. Hospitalizations as a result of the coronavirus are at a record high and we encourage all businesses and individuals to comply with state and county guidance and wear a mask when outside of your home.

Recovered COVID-19 patients are needed to meet the demand of local hospital requests for convalescent plasma. While COVID-19 has no proven treatment, plasma taken from those who have recovered may help patients currently fighting the virus because the plasma has developed antibodies against the virus. The San Diego Blood Bank created a form where people can submit their contact information to qualify for convalescent plasma donation.

Click here to read the week’s full update.


July 2 – Weekly Update

Yesterday, Governor Newsom dialed back reopening in 19 counties across the state. These counties were ordered to immediately suspend indoor operations of restaurants, wineries/tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, and museums as well as all bars both indoor and outdoor. While San Diego is not included on the list of counties of concern, neighboring Imperial, Orange, and Riverside counties were all included. Local county health officials caution that San Diego will likely be forced to dial back our reopening if local behavior does not change.

Have a safe, healthy, and happy Fourth of July! Please remember to follow state and county public health guidance: wear a mask, maintain a physical distance from others, and refrain from gathering with members outside of your household.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


June 25 – Weekly Update

This week the Chamber celebrated the launch of the All Our Talent: Women on Boards and Commissions Initiative with special guests and featured speakers First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. The initiative is an effort of the San Diego Regional Chamber Foundation with support from Mine The Gap focused on addressing the need for more women on corporate, nonprofit, and government-appointed boards and commissions in our region.

As part of the All Our Talent initiative, the Chamber released a report and dashboard on the state of women on boards and commissions locally and the disparities and barriers in our region’s leadership. This information and how to get involved are available online here.

Earlier this week it was also announced that Caroline Winn, the Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and the thought leader behind the initiative, was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of San Diego Gas & Electric Company.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


June 18 – Weekly Update

This week, in a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court decided that the Civil Rights Act, passed in 1964, also protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, just this morning, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration cannot continue with its plan to terminate the DACA program, which the Chamber has strongly supported for several years. Read more about this decision and the vital role Dreamers play in the U.S. economy in the International Business Affairs section of this email below.

This afternoon, Governor Newsom announced Californians are now required to wear facial coverings in indoor or outdoor public spaces. Guidance from the Department of Public Health can be found here. Also this afternoon, the County announced there have been eight COVID-19 community outbreaks within seven days. Businesses approved to reopen tomorrow can proceed with reopening. Businesses in line to reopen after tomorrow are on hold. The County continues to caution following the facial covering and social distancing guidelines. The County will update its facial covering guidance to match the state’s.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


June 11 – Weekly Update

This week marks another milestone as our community continues to reopen. San Diego County announced exciting news Monday after receiving guidance from the state. A number of businesses can begin reopening tomorrow, June 12, including hotels, museums, gyms, pools, and bars. The full list of businesses and guidance for reopening can be found here. The county also announced that campgrounds and sportfishing businesses could reopen immediately.

On Tuesday, the county expanded the list of reopened businesses to include movie theaters (at limited capacity). As we all start to enjoy the reopened businesses, a friendly reminder that the guidance for facial coverings, social distancing, and prohibition of group gatherings still remain in effect.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


June 4 – Weekly Update

The events of this past week, across the nation, and here in San Diego, are a painful reminder of just how much work remains to be done when it comes to racial equality and justice in America. We hear the voices calling for overdue change and action. The Chamber is committed to doing our part to see that positive change is made and will continue to focus our efforts on creating economic opportunity for all, as we are guided by our mission to make the San Diego region the best place to live and work.

On Monday, Jerry joined Mayor Faulconer, City Council President Gomez, Councilmember Montgomery, Police Chief Nisleit, and community leaders to announce the San Diego Police Department will stop using a carotid restraint as a use-of-force procedure effective immediately. During the press conference, Jerry noted that this is the beginning of “the road to discussing meaningful change in police and community relations.” Since Monday’s announcement, 15 other policing agencies throughout the county, including the Sheriff’s Department, have agreed to ban the restraint.

LEAD San Diego, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Chamber, hosted a discussion with Dr. Steven Jones, CEO of JONES, and Starla Lewis, Professor Emeritus at San Diego Mesa College, on the long-overdue reckoning on policing practices and systematic racism and how we as leaders of teams, organizations, and families can step up and be part of the change our country needs. You can watch a recording of the powerful webinar here.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


May 28 – Weekly Update

Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer. While domestic and international tourism to the region remains down, many San Diegans celebrated the warm weather and enjoyed new liberties granted by the County Health Department. While San Diego has developed a good reputation from the State authorities in Sacramento on its handling of the virus, some local businesses have failed to comply with standards set by the County. If you or your business have any questions regarding reopening guidance from the County, please reach out to a member of the policy team or your membership relations manager.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


May 21 – Weekly Update

On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to move into an accelerated Stage 2 of California’s Resilience Roadmap. Late last night, the County received approval from the State’s Department of Public Health to move further into Stage 2, allowing dine-in options in restaurants and in-store retail. Businesses must follow social distancing protocols and complete the County’s Safe Reopening Plan. Safe Reopening Plan guidance can be found on the County’s website here for restaurants and here for retail stores.

The County is transitioning its daily COVID-19 briefings to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. However, this afternoon there is a press briefing at 2:30 p.m. in light of the Stage 2 reopening news.

Memorial Day Weekend looks a lot different than years past. Ceremonies honoring our nation’s service men and women who lost their lives during military service will be held virtually. We wish you a safe Memorial Day Weekend!

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


May 14 – Weekly Update

This week Speaker Pelosi unveiled the HEROES Act, which includes beefed-up stimulus payments of up to $6,000 per family, $1 trillion to local governments to pay for essential front-line workers, $75 billion for increased testing and tracing, and $10 billion for economic injury disaster loans dedicated to businesses, among other things. The Mexican federal government announced a phased reopening plan. And, locally, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Supervisor Greg Cox joined together to urge Governor Newsom to allow more flexibility for localities trying to open.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.

 


May 7 – Weekly Update 

If the global health pandemic, economic crisis, and soaring local unemployment weren’t giving you night sweats yet, the heatwave and red tide stench might have done the trick. However, there may be some light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel. Governmental leaders are all looking at a phased reopening, creating an important window for businesses to provide feedback for suggested ways to make that reopening stable, safe, and successful.

UCSD made a major announcement regarding testing as part of its plan to bring students back for the Fall, demonstrating capacity and ability to test which will be critical to larger strategies of reopening.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


April 30 – Weekly Update 

This week felt like a rollercoaster ride. Beaches across the county were reopened on Monday, just in time for surfers to view the bioluminescent “red tide”.  Last night it was reported that Governor Newson would order all beaches and state parks throughout California close by Friday. Then this afternoon, during his daily press conference, the Governor applauded the great work of our local San Diego leaders and announced that only beaches in Orange County would close. Additionally, SANDAG published a startling report that, as of April 23, one in four San Diegans are unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. At 24.7%, the county’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average due to the region’s vast tourism industry, now at a standstill.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


April 23 – Weekly Update 

As you’ve likely heard, the Chamber is pleased to represent you in a working group convened by Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Cox to address immediate needs in the business community. Additionally, we are working on a parallel effort with our partners at EDC and the Tourism Authority to think about a long-term framework for economic success, which we’ve titled “Back in Business.” To make sure our work is reflective of the needs of your business and your industry, please fill out this survey and let us know how best to guide these policy discussions.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


April 16 – Weekly Update 

This week marks California’s sixth week in a State of Emergency and our fourth week sheltering in place. While we all are starting to adjust to this new normal, the Chamber continues to recognize the unprecedented nature of these times. We are beginning to look forward and understand how we can best ensure the San Diego region’s resiliency and recovery over the coming weeks, months, and years. That understanding is being driven by discussions in our committees that revolve around how best to safely, swiftly and sustainably move forward.

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


April 9 – Weekly Update 

Click here to read this week’s complete update including CARES Act package info as well as local, state, and international updates.


April 3 

Update from the County of San Diego Public Health Officer regarding the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for the San Diego region. Attached is Addendum 1 to the Order of the Health Officer, effective April 3, 2020 as of 12:00 a.m. Addendum 1 adds the following requirements to the existing Order of the Health Officer:

Click here to read the complete Health Order.


April 2 – Weekly Update

Click here to read the complete update, including available capital resources for small businesses.


March 26 – Weekly Update

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


March 25

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


March 20

Click here to read this week’s complete update.


March 19 – Weekly Update

Click here to read this week’s complete update.

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