News & Updates

San Diego County Reopening

Throughout June, the County has continued to reopen, however recent COVID-19 community outbreaks have paused additional reopening. You can view what’s open, closed, and coming soon here. Yesterday, the County announced eight COVID-19 community outbreaks within seven days and the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in a single day. More than seven community outbreaks within seven days is one of the thirteen triggers the County is monitoring as our community reopens. The County continues to caution following the facial covering and social distancing guidelines.

Executive Order Suspends Employment-based Visas

An executive order issued this week suspended numerous work visas and expands existing restrictions until the end of 2020. Impacted visas include the H-1B program for skilled workers; L-1 visas for executives; J-1 visas for scholars and professors; and H-2B visas used by seasonal workers, such as in the construction and hospitality industries.

This action is likely to cause substantial economic uncertainty and limit our ability to move toward a swift economic recovery. Our economy depends on visa programs which support business growth, research, and investment. In fact, multiple studies have shown that employing foreign workers whose abilities and talents complement those of native-born workers actually creates new employment opportunities for American workers. For example, each H-1B visa leads to the creation of 1.83 jobs.

The Chamber issued a statement urging for the reversal of this action and had previously submitted a letter to the administration.

Good Government Speaker Series

On Monday, the Chamber hosted a virtual Good Government Speaker Series: Exploring Cost Saving Solutions in Health Care. In a discussion moderated by Dana Alligood, panelists Congressman Scott Peters, Dr. William Tseng, Dr. Wayne Winegarden, highlighted the emerging biosimilars market as one solution to combat the rising cost of care. Pacific Research Institute estimates that California could save up to $511.48 million annually with increased biosimilar uptake. The panel also discussed the positive impacts of telemedicine during COVID-19 and solutions to pursue as we address budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic. If you weren’t able to tune in live, you can view a recording of the panel here.

Court of Appeal Rejects Climate Action Plan

On Friday, June 12, the 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego rendered its ruling in response to a lawsuit brought against the County of San Diego by environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, Climate Action Campaign, and Center for Biological Diversity. Measurement of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) is administered through multiple County departments and pertains to activities occurring within the unincorporated area of the region, and within County-owned facilities, regardless of location. The ruling rejected the county’s latest adopted Climate Action Plan, which enabled residential developments to offset greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicle traffic using carbon offsets, putting the onus back on the county to appeal this latest decision or begin drafting a new Climate Action Plan (CAP) altogether.

Additionally, not having a legal CAP impacts the validity of ongoing projects, further depriving the County of the kind of regulatory certainty needed to make substantive progress addressing housing in our region.

San Diego City Council Approves SDSU West Deal

Last week, the San Diego City Council approved the sale of the Mission Valley Stadium site to San Diego State University. With an 8-1 vote, the Council finalized the language of the sale and purchase agreement. All that remains is one final approval, called a “second reading,” and escrow is expected to close in August.

SDSU West will include a 34-acre river park, 1.6 million square feet of office and retail space that can be used for education, entrepreneurial, and technology programs, construction of a new multi-use stadium, 600 units of housing with 10% set aside for low-income households, a 400-room hotel, and nearly 100,000 square feet of retail space. This project will have a positive economic impact on the region, creating thousands of jobs and expanding one of San Diego’s flagship academic institutions.

Ruling Rejects Repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA)

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against the presidential administration’s move to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program, which began in 2012, provides temporary protection from deportation to qualified individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children and allows them to work and attend school. The Chamber has long supported the DACA program and has issued letters in support of maintaining the program. Nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, are a vital part of the U.S. economy and nearly a third of all DACA recipients are essential workers helping communities through this pandemic, with 29,000 serving as  health care professionals working on the front lines.  We urge Congress to take up legislation to make this program permanent and prevent future uncertainty for our communities and economy.

International Business Affairs Forums

The Chamber co-hosted a webinar focused on the tourism industry to continue promoting binational coordination as businesses begin to open. Entities from both sides of the border talked about the economic impact of COVID-19 and shared best practices as they begin to resume operations. Travel restrictions continue to be one of the main challenges for businesses, and participants shared the urgency to collaboratively follow health protocols, mitigate the spread of the virus, and ease restrictions at the border. Results from a recent survey on the economic impact of COVID-19 on Baja’s business community are available here (in Spanish).

Industry businesses and public spaces including restaurants, hotels, parks, and outdoor recreational centers are now open in the Cities of Tijuana and Ensenada. Companies are required to obtain a COVID-19-Free Work Spaces certification through Baja’s State government and comply with a list of precautionary measures including limiting access to 25% of their capacity. Local authorities are conducting inspections to ensure establishments comply with health protocols. For San Diego specific reopening guidelines and financial resources from city ,state or federal authorities, please visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s blog and website.

As we prepare for the July 1 implementation date of the new trade agreement, the Chamber along with the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana, and the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles will host a discussion on the treaty’s benefits and economic opportunities for our binational region. This forum will take place Tuesday, June 30 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Registration is open now.

Member Spotlight: O’Shun’s Orchard

Montezuma Valley Market’s neighboring landscape

O’Shun’s Orchard LLC is a retail and development company. Current operations include a convenience store, outdoors destination project, and agricultural tech development. Their  Montezuma Valley Market is one of their first steps for economic development in rural San Diego High Desert. Right before the drive down the glass elevator to Borrego Springs the store is a great road-stop for raw local honey (some of which is raised and harvested in-house), handmade furniture, snacks, hiking camping supplies, or a place to sit for a while and enjoy a cold craft beer. The market is currently featured on History Channel UK Uncharted Mysteries and coming out this Fall Travel Channel Into the Unknown. Don’t forget to take a pic with the Yeti before you leave, he’s quite the attraction.

Kemi & Mike, Owners of O’Shun’s Orchard and Montezuma Valley Market

Their 80-acre sustainable agritourism development is located right next to Anza Borrego Desert State Park and is planned for a fruit orchard, freshwater aquaculture, underground beverage production, and embedded lodging accommodations. San Diego High Desert is an enchanting place full of peaceful beauty. This has become a familiar place to cyclists, thru-hikers, campers, offroaders, and desert outdoors enthusiasts, creating an experience and destination of choice for everybody. Follow their outdoors endeavor on their website— there you can also find store merchandise and podcasts series that details all the fun ups and downs of starting, operating, and sustaining this business


Kemi and Mike Pavlocak, Founders and Owners

O’Shun’s Orchard LLC


Call: 619.693.7536

Travel Restrictions and Operating Hours at Land Ports of Entry

The temporary restrictions on non-essential travel across shared ports of entry between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico have been extended for an additional 30 days to July 21. As businesses have begun to reopen, the Chamber has urged U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to restore operating lanes and staffing at our ports of entry. This will decrease wait times at the border and ensure our cross-border workforce continues to have an access to the ports of entry.

Normal operating hours at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry have been restored. Vehicle and pedestrian lanes have resumed operating 24 hours a day. Please visit the official website and social media pages for updates on port operations.

Cross Border Xpress (CBX) will resume 24 hour northbound operations starting July 5. Its southbound operations have remained open 24 hours a day. For more information, visit the CBX website.