News & Updates

Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards Update

The Cal/OSHA Standards Board met for the second readoption of the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) related to COVID-19. Procedurally, this means that there are rules on the books that employers are required to abide by regarding workforce protection from COVID-19 through April 2022. In April 2022, a permanent standard will be adopted, and language for that proposed permanent standard took up the second portion of today’s Board meeting.

The Chamber was proud to sign a coalition letter led by the CalChamber raising specific points to the Board about the second readoption. After a few dozen callers, the Board voted with one opposing to readopt the revised ETS. A few specific changes you should be aware of:

  • Most circumstances where there was not a requirement to test or exclude a vaccinated and asymptomatic staff member have been removed. Generally, vaccinated and unvaccinated staff members are treated the same.
  • After instances of exposure, social distancing must be reinstituted even for vaccinated employees, and even if that employee tests negative.
  • Tests that are approved are expanded to include self-administered tests. However, if an employer relies on self-administered tests, the results must be read by an observer.
  • Masks that are allowable can now include gaiters so long as they are two layers of fabric. Additionally masks must pass the flashlight test, meaning that light cannot pass through for them to be deemed adequate.

We understand that many of these changes add to an already frustrating policy landscape for employers doing their best to comply. At this point, employers should know that there is a 10-day period where the Office of Administrative Law reviews and considers the standard, at which point it will go into effect. However, what is very important to keep an eye out for is the FAQ document(s) that will follow and provide much greater clarity concerning the granular ways in which compliance can occur.

In the meantime, we continue to monitor the discussions around the permanent standard, and unfortunately, there is little clarity or agreement about the best way forward. Following hours of debate by panelists and the Board at the latter half of the meeting, there was very much confusion about the process, the data being considered, and even fundamental questions about what vehicle could be the most appropriate. For instance, it could be an amendment to the Injury and Illness Prevention Plan documents that employers are already required to have, or just an additional two years of the temporary standards, or even a permanent aerosol standard. Additionally, major debates around whether exclusion pay will be included, or how to educate and empower the workforce to be safe and knowledgeable were present.

The Chamber will provide updates on the ETS as new information is available. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We also recommend making sure that you have an updated and accessible Injury and Illness Prevention Plan that clearly outlines your workplace’s prevention efforts for COVID-19 and you are communicating often with your team about your protocols.

Federal Legislative Update

The US Supreme Court is going to pass on hearing an environmental challenge on immigration.

Ranchers and environmental advocates have said that DHS policies on immigration, including DACA, violate NEPA (the federal version of CEQA). The suit was originally brought in 2016 and has finally made its way to its end at the Supreme Court.

The EPA announced the appointment of Martha Guzman as the agency’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. With her extensive portfolio as a Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and leadership on issues for disadvantaged communities, Guzman will lead the implementation of the Biden-Harris environmental agenda in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and 148 Tribal Nations.

Dec. 31 is the last day for individuals to make tax-deductible charitable donations for 2021.The rule that allowed non-itemized tax filers to deduct up to $300 in non-profit donations from their taxes –$600 for married folks– is termed at the end of this year.

California Reinstates Mask Mandate

This Monday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that an indoor mask mandate is being reinstated from December 15 through January 15, regardless of vaccination status. After that, health officials will determine further recommendations as needed. 

CDPH cites rising case rates after the Thanksgiving holiday and anticipates cases to surge again following holiday travel. The new rules also apply to mega-events (i.e concerts, sports games, etc.)

Learn more here.

President AMLO Visits Tijuana

President Lopez Obrador was in the border region this week and held a press conference in Tijuana highlighting his commitment to addressing insecurity in the border region and federal funding for migrants. He stated that federal personnel and resources will be sent to the migrant camp at the San Ysidro land port of entry. 

Read more here.

International Tribute Awards 2021

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce celebrated the region’s outstanding commitment to binational collaboration and honored those from San Diego and Baja who are leading the way at the International Tribute Awards.

This year’s International Tribute awardees are:

  • International Business of the Year – Taylor Guitars the leading global producer of acoustic guitars with international operations headquartered in El Cajon and employing more than 1,000 people, with 45% in El Cajon– one of east county’s largest employers– and 52% in Mexico. And, roughly two dozen employees in Amsterdam.
  • Cross-Border Leader of the Year – Melissa Floca, Senior Advisor for Cross-Border Initiatives at the University of San Diego’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. Floca has developed a portfolio of research and programming focused on creating a peaceful and inclusive U.S.-Mexico border region.
  • Cross-Border Collaboration – Consul General Ambassador Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, San Diego County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Nora Vargas, and Luis Lutteroth President of Consejo de Desarrollo de Tijuana . Through their collaboration, a mobile vaccination strategy was launched and brought vaccinations to more than 26,000 maquiladora workers in Baja California using vaccines donated by San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency.

San Diego Legislative Updates

Last Friday, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved the 2021 Regional Plan and directed staff to explore alternatives to the proposed road user charge within six months.

The San Diego City Council elected Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera as council president, replacing Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell, who held the role for the past year. Elo-Rivera also announced appointments for committee assignments and outside agencies.  

Appointment of Committee Assignments for 2022

Appointments to Outside Organizations for 2022

The County’s Independent Redistricting Commission voted to approve the final County map that was discussed and adjusted over the past weekend on December 14. The biggest changes were to ensure that District 1 is a minority-majority district, continue to keep El Cajon in District 2, ensure District 3 as a coastal district, add Spring Valley and Paradise Hills to District 4, and mostly maintain the current District 5. 

Here’s what happened at this week’s San Diego City Council and Committee hearings:

Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • The Planning Commission voted to continue the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) update item to January 7, 2022. The Chamber continues to monitor how changes to the current policy and potential mitigation options could affect future development in the County. 

Upcoming Hearings

  • The SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on December 17.

Groundbreaking New Terminal 1

Federal, state, and city officials held a groundbreaking celebration for the new Terminal 1 at the San Diego International Airport on December 13. 

The New T1 project includes the replacement of the outdated Terminal 1, improvements to the airfield, improved transportation connectivity to the airport, and a new facility for the Airport Authority administration. The administration building will be the first to be completed and is expected to open in late 2023.

Learn more about the project here. 


Good Government Speaker Series: Fireside Chat with U.S. Senator Padilla

San Diego Regional Chamber President and CEO Jerry Sanders joined U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) for a live discussion on infrastructure, workforce, and national COVID-19 recovery.

The live stream event also highlighted the Build Back Better Act, American Rescue Plan, and additional federal funding.

Small Business Awards



Do you have a business success story? Is your business/minority business leading in your field? Or maybe you’re a nonprofit whose mission is all about the community… If so, you should consider applying for the Chamber’s Small Business Awards, where we honor our region’s top small businesses that are driving the San Diego economy forward.

Winning an award for your organization is a great way to strengthen your brand, increase your visibility and stand out from the competition. Finalists and award recipients will be recognized at our Small Business Awards Mixer in front of 200+ business and community leaders.

Applications for the Small Business Awards open in the spring and are quick, easy, and free for members. Keep an eye on our newsletters for the announcement of when applications open and read below for more information about the awards.


Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must be a current member in good standing with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Eligible applicants must have 50 or fewer employees in total. Small businesses (including nonprofits) must be independently owned and operated, and home-based, street front or office-based organizations. Organizations may apply to multiple categories. Award winners from the last 2 years will not be eligible to win again in the same category.


Winning an award is an excellent opportunity to gain exposure for your company and earn recognition for your achievements.

Winners receive:

  • Recognition during the Small Business Awards Mixer
  • Award engraved with company name
  • Official award winner logo
  • Digital, and social media recognition
  • Complimentary tabletop exhibit at a future Chamber mixer

Finalists receive:

  • Recognition at the Small Business Awards Mixer and listing in the event program
  • Digital and social media recognition


zeynep_ex“Confirm Biosciences is honored to have received this award as Outstanding Emerging Business. We are grateful for this recognition and would like to thank the San Diego Chamber for their outstanding work in the community and their support of growing businesses.”

Zeynep Ilgaz | President & CEO, Confirm Biosciences


“As a nonprofit agency in the senior space, ElderHelp of San Diego works hard to convey the message that there are too many seniors in San Diego whose safety net has failed them. Those seniors are almost invisible, and we look forward to any opportunity to get the word out. We are very pleased that our Bill Trumpfheller Social Impact Award allowed a new audience to learn about ElderHelp and its social impact for seniors.”

Gretchen Veihl | Director of Philanthropy, ElderHelp


“Being recognized by the Chamber is a huge honor. Participating in award opportunities has helped us to elevate our brand awareness and establish our credibility.  Exposure to different audiences through the Chamber has helped us to gain additional clients, increase our presence in San Diego and allow others the chance to get to know us. We are grateful for the hard work the Chamber does to support small businesses and look forward to being part of the organization for years to come.”

Jennifer Barnes | CEO, Optima Office


2021 Award Categories

Community Minded


This award recognizes an organization that is dedicated to helping others and making a positive impact in the community during this time of crisis/uncertainty.

Best Success Story


Now’s your turn to brag about your organization’s success this past year– large or small – but something you’re proud of.

Outstanding Minority, Woman, Veteran, DBE-Owned Business

This award celebrates the success of a small business that is contributing to the growth and diversity of the American economy.

Customers First

Customer service is what sets this organization apart from the competition.




LEADers On The Move

We enjoy seeing what our graduates are doing and how they are making an impact on the world. Share your good news with us via email:

Advance class of 2021 graduate Andrea Caldwell now serves as Director, Government Relations of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Impact class of 2017 graduate Jenna Harris now serves as Vice President & COO/ Chief of Staff of San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

Influence class of 2011 graduate Sam Attisha now serves as Senior Vice President, Field Operations of Cox Communications.

Impact class of 2021 graduate Keshia Javis-Jones now serves as Council Member, Military, Veteran, and Families Advisory Council of City of San Diego.

Impact class of 2022 participant Vincenzo Tarantino now serves as Board Member of Diversionary Theatre.

Impact class of 2022 participant Barbarah Torres was awarded Circulate San Diego’s Advocate Award.

Impact class of 2021 graduate Mindy Wright now serves as Director, Communications of SBCS.

Impact class of 2006 graduate Supervisor Nora Vargas was named by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) as a 2021 Spirit of Hope Award Recipient.

The following were named to San Diego Business Journal’s 500 Most Influential People in San Diego:

Elizabeth Fitzsimons, President & CEO, Episcopal Community Services

Carol Dedrich, CEO, Girl Scouts San Diego

James Floros, President & CEO, Impact the Change

Paul Downey, President & CEO, Serving Seniors

Lisette Islas, Executive Vice President & Chief Impact Officer, MAAC

Rudolph Johnson III, President & CEO, Neighborhood House Association

Rip Rippetoe, CEO, San Diego Convention Center Corporation

Jason Paguio, President & CEO, Asian Business Association of San Diego

Nancy Sasaki, President & CEO, United Way of San Diego

Lauree Sahba, COO, San Diego Regional EDC

James Sly, CEO, East County EDC

Joe Stuyvesant, President & CEO, Port of San Diego

Tonya Torosian, CEO, Promises2Kids

David Wellis, CEO, Community Bio

Tim Keane, Dean, University of San Diego School of Business

Michael Cunningham, Chancellor, National University System

Lisa Ordonez, Dean, Rady School of Business, UC San Diego

Mark Sanchez, Superintendent/President, Southwest College

Dana Alligood, Market Executive, Global Commercial Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Isai Amaya, Regional President, San Diego Branch Banking Division, Union Bank

Gordon Boerner, Senior Vice President & Western Regional Banking Manager, U.S. Bank

Karen Harrison, Senior Vice President, SBA Executive, Bank of America

Julian Parra, Senior Vice President, Region Executive, Bank of America

Alan Prohaska, Regional President & Head of Corporate Banking, PNC

Manuel Rodriguez, Market Executive, U.S. Bank

Jane Finley, Senior Vice President, Area Manager, Kaiser Permanente

Rob Douglas, President & COO, Resmed

Melissa Hayden-Cook, President & CEO, Sharp Health Plan

Stephen Jennings, Chief External Affairs Officer, Senior Vice President, Executive Director, Rady Children’s Hospital

James Mackay, President & CEO, Aristea Therapeutics

Robin Toft, CEO, Founder & Chair, Toft Group, A ZRG Company

Jason Anderson, President & CEO, Cleantech San Diego

Tom Pellette, President, Solar Turbines

Caroline Winn, CEO, SDG&E

Mark Neville, Executive Diretor, San Diego Bowl Game Association

Roxanna Velasquez, Executive Director, San Diego Museum of Art

Reid Carr, CEO, Red Door Interactive

Steven J. Cologne, Managing Partner, Higgs Fletcher & Mack

Steven Jones, CEO, JONES

Sara Katz, CEO, Katz & Associates

Alessandra Lezama, Founder & CEO, TOOTRiS

Seth Stein, CEO, Eastridge Workforce Solutions

Carisa Wisniewski, Partner, Moss Adams

Doug Arthur, President & CEO, SENTRE

Dan Broderick, President, Western Region, Cushman Wakefiled

Natalie Dahl, Managing Director, CBRE

John Frager, Executive Managing Director, CBRE

Michael Neal, President & CEO, H.G. Fenton

Eric Northbrook, Managing Director, Voit Real Estate Services

James Schmid, CEO, Chelsea Investment

Lori Ann Stevens, Design Manager, Turner Construction

Sam Attisha, Senior Vice President, Field Operations, Cox Communications

Bahija Humphrey, CEO, Data Science Alliance

Phil Blair, Executive Officer, Manpower San Diego

Jo Dee Jacob, Former CEO, Girl Scouts San Diego

Stath Karras, Executive Director, Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, University of San Diego

Susan Lew, Founder & CEO, S. Lew & Associates

Lidia S. Martinez, Manager of Community Outreach (ret.), Southwest Airlines

Garry Ridge, CEO, WD-40 Company

Patti Roscoe, Owner, Roscoe & Associates

Kwofi Reed, CEO, San Diego Habitat for Humanity