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.

Our team creates a recap of San Diego County’s weekly business updates for the latest on local COVID regulations and resources for employers. Access the updates.


 

Our weekly Legislative Update is sponsored by TOOTRiS. Learn more.


January 21 – Weekly Update

Our newsletter is brought to you by our sponsor, TOOTRiS, but it’s written by a bunch of millennials and as such, we’d like to discuss the MVP of the inauguration: fellow young-person, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman. Aside from Lady Gaga’s gold-taxidermied bird-broach (brooch?), Ms. Gorman was the brightest part of yesterday’s ceremony and couldn’t you just feel this closing line?

“The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it– if only we are brave enough to be it.”

Did you get a chance to catch CNBC’s Streets of Dreams this week? Focused on North Harbor Dr. and the blue economy (ocean-based business, not sad money), the episode features Chamber members Workshop for Warriors and NASSCO’s Dennis Dubard!

And if you’re looking for some inspiration for your 2021- join us for a webinar hosted by Union Bank highlighting business success amidst COVID. We’ll explore how entrepreneurial thinking is one of the best tools businesses can use, what’s worked for local employers to keep people motivated, and how you find “wins” amidst a pandemic and constant change. Register here.

Business News

NASSCO launched the USNS John Lewis, one of six vessels in the John Lewis-class fleet oiler program for the US Navy. John Lewis himself welded his initials on the keel plate of the ship in 2019.

Looking for some extra feel-good news in your inbox? SeaWorld just launched a newsletter, sign up here.

Qualcomm announced their latest collaboration with Samsung this week, providing their Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform to power Samsung’s newest smartphones. The Snapdragon 888 includes the newest innovations in 5G, AI, gaming, and camera technologies.

Business giant (and Chamber member) Amazon has offered to help with vaccine distribution via a letter to the President.

California’s median home price hit a record high in December at $717,930, up 16.8% from the same time last year.

Legislative Update

Federal: 

President Biden released his $1.9 trillion relief plan last week, which includes $15 billion for a new grant program for small businesses, $20 billion to expand vaccination efforts, and $350 billion in state and local aid. The largest piece of the plan would add an additional $1400 in individual stimulus checks to the $600 passed in December and add $400 in unemployment benefits per week.

The President also signed 17 executive actions yesterday, representing a mix of reversals of Trump-era policies and new directives to address the COVID crisis. Key highlights include reinstating the country’s participation in the World Health Organization (Fauci will be the lead from the US), rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, and extending both the nationwide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through the end of March and the pause on student loan payments and interest through September (at least).

Biden selected San Diego Unified School District Superintendent, Cindy Marten as Deputy Secretary of Education (is this federal news or local news? We didn’t know either).

He has also named FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly as acting chair of the organization, and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel as Chair.

Build, baby! The US Chamber has launched a Build by the 4th of July campaign, urging Congress to adopt an infrastructure package by the 4th of July. You can join by adding your organization to this huge coalition here.

This Tuesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held Ret. Gen. Lloyd Austin’s confirmation hearing. Since he hasn’t been retired for more than seven years, he requires a Congressional waiver to serve as Secretary of Defense. Congress has voiced concern over maintaining civilian control of the military, in addition to Austin’s industry ties to Raytheon. He needs the Senate to confirm his Cabinet position, but both the Senate and House to grant the waiver. Austin testifies before the House Armed Services Committee today.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a confirmation hearing for Alejandro Mayorkas this week. If confirmed, he’ll be the first Latino and immigrant Secretary of Homeland Security.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance on mandatory vaccination programs, how vaccine requirements interact with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other points. It’s unlikely that these new guidelines will give employers all the clarity they need, but the technical assistance is nonetheless available.

As a farewell gift, California AG Becerra announced he was engaging in nine new lawsuits against the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks.

International:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released its Strategy 2021-2026 which introduces the agency’s new mission and vision statements while providing an overview of its priorities and strategic objectives. These objectives cover: secure and compliant trade; biometric identification; IT infrastructure; partnerships; counter network; awareness and enforcement; targeting and vetting; stakeholder experience; talent acquisition and workforce development; wellness and resilience; data and analytics; and intelligence. We look forward to continued collaboration with CBP on regional priorities that facilitate cross-border commerce and ensure a secure, reliable, and efficient border.

President Biden announced the appointment of Roberta Jacobson as coordinator for the southwestern border on the National Security Council. Formerly U.S. Ambassador to Mexico between 2016 and 2018, she will oversee the administration’s proposed reforms to the national asylum system and strengthen the relationship with Mexico and Central America. The Chamber has met with Jacobson on delegation trips to Mexico City during her tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and has fostered a strong relationship with her.

Baja’s Water Management, Sanitation and Protection Agency (SEPROA) shared an overview of a comprehensive project to rehabilitate the 30 pump stations located in the City of Tijuana. The first phase of the project is estimated to cost over $143 million pesos (about $7.3 million USD) and is part of the agency’s efforts to provide much-needed maintenance and upgrades to Tijuana’s sewage system to improve water service across the city and help reduce transboundary polluted flows impacting the Tijuana River Valley in our region.

State:

California Competes Tax Credit applications are open until January 25. The income tax credit is available to any California business and will be administered based on twelve criteria including the number of full-time jobs being created, amount of investment, and strategic importance to the state or region.

Former Governor and proud owner of a pet donkey, Arnold Schwarzenegger got vaccinated and had a great tweet about it.

Didn’t get to apply for the first round of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program? Round 2 opens on February 2.

Last Thursday, the California Supreme Court ruled the ABC test under AB5 is now considered retroactive. The ABC test was established by the Dynamex ruling in 2018, which determines if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. Last week’s ruling will hold companies liable for violating the ABC test for cases back in 2018. Although Prop 22 protects rideshare companies from the ABC test as of November 2020, this leaves a liability gap from 2018 until the time Prop 22 came into effect.

Another thing that’s been closed for the last ten months is the court system. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye has launched a fast-track program to ease the state’s backlog of criminal cases, using the Temporary Assigned Judges program.

California Senate Republicans, who make up nine of the forty seats, have opted for new leadership after ousting Shannon Grove and replacing her with Scott Wilk.

Did you get a PPP loan? Are you totally confused about what is deductible on your taxes and what isn’t? (If this is news to you, sorry for stressing you out). The Chamber is leading a coalition to confirm the introduction of legislation at the state level to align state tax policy with federal guidance that allows for deductions of expenses traditionally deductible even if paid for with PPP funds. Reach out to Policy staff if you’ve got any follow-up questions.

Cal/OSHA has revised their COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards to provide employers with more clarity on testing requirements, payment for employees excluded due to a COVID related exposure, and enforcement measures. Through February 1, Cal/OSHA will not assess monetary penalties with citations and will take into consideration good faith efforts to comply.

On Monday California Secretary of State Alex Padilla stepped down from his role to be officially appointed to the US Senate and was sworn in yesterday. Assemblymember Shirley Weber was tapped by Governor Newsom to be Secretary of State.

Further proof, if possible, that the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) is a nightmare factory: new director Rita Saenz reports that the fraud estimate for unemployment claims is likely going to surpass $8 BILLION. Oh, and totally on theme: those victims of EDD fraud still might get hit with a tax bill. If you are a victim of EDD fraud, contact your legislator ASAP, and if you need help figuring out who that is, respond to this email and we’ll take care of you.

California has halted administering of a batch of the Moderna vaccine after some allergic reactions, but is back on track, returning those 330k doses to the supply.

On Tuesday, Ammar Campa-Najjar announced he will not run for the 79th Assembly district seat because the district should be represented by a woman of color.

Local:

2021 is shaping up to be a blockbuster year for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System: a new fare system, more zero-emission buses, service launch on the UC San Diego Blue Line extension to UTC, a commitment to equity and environmental justice, and more! Join MTS Board Chair Nathan Fletcher on TODAY (Thursday, January 21) for an update on the latest news from MTS. Tune-in to the broadcast on MTS’ Facebook page  starting at 5 p.m.

The City of San Diego continues to stare down a pretty big ($150M) budget deficit. Accordingly, a 143-page document outlining each council offices’ budget priorities is also available from the City’s Independent Budget Analyst.

Last week, the County Board of Supervisors voted to create a new climate action plan. The plan would work towards zero carbon emissions in the next 15 years, with an emphasis on environmental equity for all communities in San Diego.

San Diego County has a goal to vaccinate 70% of all residents by July 1 (1.9 million people!). The county is currently completing 6,153 vaccinations per day and will need to ramp up to 23,434 vaccinations per day to meet the target. The county’s health department is planning to open an additional 8 vaccination centers throughout the region and is working with the state to release a vaccination alert system for residents to know when and where to get vaccinated.

Check out KPBS’ COVID vaccination tracker, updated with County data every Wednesday. The tracker shows the percentage of San Diego’s population that is fully immunized. So far…we’re at 0.4%

The City of San Diego is gathering community feedback on environmental justice to guide San Diego’s 2022 general plan. The initiative will help identify which communities are most impacted by pollution, insufficient infrastructure, and lack of access to healthy foods. Take the survey here.

Regional stakeholders continue to face questions about how to address sediment in the Los Penasquitos Lagoon. At their most recent meeting, the Poway City Council voted to further negotiate with its regional partners instead of paying $6.7 million as part of a collaborative effort to address the restoration.

The current ICU bed availability in Southern California is 0%. The adjusted case rate as of Tuesday is 60.6 per 100,000 residents. As a reminder, the case rate must drop below 8 per 100,000 residents for three consecutive weeks to move out of the purple tier. The Regional Stay at Home Order isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The 37th Annual San Diego County Economic Roundtable predicted an upturn in the second half of 2021. The panel discussed how income and ethnicity was a key factor in COVID related unemployment, and that tourism was one of the hardest-hit sectors. Experts are looking at a five-year recovery for the travel and tourism sector, but are expecting a surge in leisure and service demand after widespread vaccinations.

The City of San Diego Council agenda for 1/26 is available here. (Scroll to the part where the Mayor declares San Diego Chamber of Commerce Day!!)

Capital Opportunities & Resources:

  • Apply for your first or second PPP Loan now! Learn more here.
  • City of Oceanside COVID-19 small business grant program: Small businesses able to demonstrate a loss in profit caused by the COVID crisis can qualify for a grant of $1,000 to $7,5000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) is accepting applications for a small business hiring credit against California state income taxes or sales and use taxes. The credit (authorized by SB 1447) is available to certain California qualified small business employers that receive a tentative credit reservation. Learn more here.
  • The California Rebuilding Fund is offering small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees loans up to $100,000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The County’s Small Business Stimulus Grant Program is accepting additional applications. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 100 full-time employees and are following sectors (restaurant, gym fitness center, yoga studio, movie theater, museum, zoo, or aquarium) was impacted by moving from the Red to Purple Tier OR part of the event industry. Learn more and apply 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.
  • Businesses can 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.

January 14 – Weekly Update

Two gorillas tested positive for COVID. The big question on everyone’s mind is, will they get the vaccine before the rest of us?

We are almost done with week 1 of #GetFitSD. Haven’t signed up yet? It’s not too late. Register and we can work on our new year’s resolutions together (but separate…with a mask).

Click here to read this week’s full update.


January 7 – Weekly Update

It’s safe to say that we all hoped 2021 would find itself less newsworthy than its disastrous sibling, 2020. But yesterday we know many of you spent the day watching an immensely unsettling scene unfold at the Capitol. We’re not going to rehash those events, but we do want to express our relief that the San Diego Congressional delegation remains safe, and their staff all out of harm’s way. Ultimately, the work was resumed, as Congress did complete the counting of the Electoral College vote, and President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner of the election.

Ready to get caught up on what you missed? Buckle up!

Click here to read this week’s full update.


December 17 – Weekly Update

Happy second-to-last day of Hanukkah to all celebrating. Hopefully, you got your loved ones a puppy for Hanukkah.

Santa may need to plan ahead this year. Online shopping has surged during the pandemic, and private carriers like UPS and FedEx have cut off some retailers to manage their services. USPS has had to take over huge volumes of mail and packages, in addition to employee shortages, causing extreme delays.

Like many of you, the Chamber staff is taking some well-deserved time off. Happy holidays to you and your families. Thank you for scrolling with us, for your kind words of support and all you do to support our region’s businesses. Remember to shop local and wear your mask.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


December 10 – Weekly Update

Ninety-year-old Margaret Keenan is the honorary “Chamber Grandma of the Year”. Which is a thing we invented this week because all of our collective hopes of getting out of our houses one day and never using the word “pivot” again rest almost entirely on her well-being. Grannie Marge, as she will now lovingly be referred to, was the first person to get the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday. And because she’s the loveliest lady, the t-shirt she chose for her big jab-day raises money for holiday presents for hospital patients and has now gone viral. It’s so great that we don’t care if this paragraph is uncharacteristically long. Go Grannie Marge! We love you! Come visit San Diego post-COVID! (Related note: we obviously have no idea how to get in touch with her, but if you do please shoot her this email).

In other happy news, which is much more fun than what we’ve been sending generally, San Diego officially welcomed Todd Gloria and his Council colleagues during a swearing-in ceremony earlier today. To the new elected officials, the returning, and their staff, we send our warmest and sincerest wishes for a productive, healthy, and generally enjoyable time in office. Their work is critical to our shared success and we applaud them.

Anyway, between color-coded tiers, a new regional stay at home order, and that very loud cell phone alert, there’s a lot going on. Check out the Union-Tribune’s user’s guide to the regional stay at home order.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


December 3 – Weekly Update

We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! Did you miss us? Well, buckle up because this is a long one.

BREAKING: Governor Newsom announced this afternoon a Regional Stay at Home Order when a region falls below 15% remaining ICU bed capacity. The state is divided into 5 regions (see the map below), with San Diego unfortunately grouped with Los Angeles and their stubbornly high case rates. Currently, there are no regions that have fallen below the 15% threshold, but Governor Newsom cautions that it could happen for much of the state within a few days. If and when a Stay at Home Order goes into effect in our region, all bars, wineries, personal services, hair salons, and other non-essential services will be required to temporarily close. Restaurants will be allowed to serve take-out and delivery only and retail stores can remain open at a 20% capacity.

On Tuesday, San Diego marked the 1,000th death from the pandemic, a brutal reminder that even with the familiar cheer of the holiday season and the uplifting announcements of a coming vaccine, we are still very much in the woods.

However, as we learned from Mr. Rogers, it’s in crisis we should “look for the helpers.” And if you or someone you know has recovered from COVID, those suffering now urgently need your help in the form of plasma donations. This plasma is a critical treatment component, so we hope you’ll consider donating and make Mr. Rogers proud.

Get ready to make a team or compete as an individual in our annual Get Fit San Diego event! Get Fit SD is the Chamber’s annual 30-day health and fitness challenge sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. We’ll be kicking off this year’s program on January 11 and ending on February 9, all are welcome to join!

Finally, the state and county announced new grant and capital opportunities! Scroll down to the “Capital Opportunities & Resources” section of this email to read more.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


November 19 – Weekly Update

We’re catching you late this week on purpose. In just about an hour and a half, our Legislative Lounge will begin virtually, so you should be pondering which beverage you’ll be enjoying, which “lounge wear” (get it?!) you’ll be wearing and maybe making a quick snack trip. And because we miss you, very, very much, we want you to join us in the photo booth so we can see your face.

And since you’ll be at home drinking anyway, probably an OK time for us to let you know that the Governor has just announced a statewide curfew from 10p-5am beginning Saturday and lasting one month. Essential workers are exempted. We’ll continue to monitor as this develops.

Wishing you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Be safe and enjoy an extra helping of that green-beans-with-the-crunchy-onions thing because you deserve it. You also deserve a week without being beat over the head with the 2020 news nightmare, so we’ll catch you on December 3rd.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


November 12 – Weekly Update

San Diegans cried purple tears when it was announced we will be moved into the purple tier, effective Saturday. This county-wide equivalent of pulling cards based on your COVID behavior is reflective of the County’s poor numbers with regard to COVID positivity rates and will require businesses to scale back operations and in some cases, temporarily close. Additionally, local enforcement efforts will be stepped up to increase citations for violations and provide masks to those not wearing them in public.

Do you love this newsletter? Are you thinking about the best way to make sure your business logo shows up in front of major decision makers and businesses every week? Click the link to share your interest and we’ll follow up with you. (We appreciate you!)

If you’re interested in being a Senator, your window of opportunity is open (and crowded)! The race to replace Senator Kamala Harris is on, with all eyes on Newsom as it’s his, probably unlucky at the moment, job to appoint the replacement. California’s long list of political leaders are making their cases, and their different stakeholder groups are actively engaged too. Major advocacy groups, including large influential PACs all have their preferred candidate, and there’s even a push for a special election (please don’t make us do this again). The appointee would fill the remaining two years of the seat and then be up for re-election, albeit with the very strong competitive edge of being an incumbent.

If you’re missing interacting with legislators and legislative staff, don’t miss our Legislative Lounge on Thursday, November 19. Jerry will tell jokes, people will get awards, and we’ll all drink to a year that is thankfully almost over.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


November 5 – Weekly Update

It wasn’t just you. In an interesting article, the LA Times reports that delivery services and search engines were all about stress-eating and drinking on Tuesday. And although Trump claimed an early victory, and the numbers look to provide a clear path for Biden, the general anxiousness of the country is enough to tell you that we still don’t have 100% clarity.  But we do have a 100% chance of lawsuits, so stay tuned.

In terrifying news, a mutated version of COVID-19 was found to exist, and be transmitted to humans via mink living on mink-farms in Denmark.  Twelve people so far have been infected.

Like we keep saying: This year has been hard. Please take care of yourself. If nobody else has told you today, you deserve a nap.

Finally, wishing a very Happy Veterans Day to all who have served in the Armed Services! Thank you and your family for your service to our nation.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


October 29 – Weekly Update

The final presidential debate was surprisingly civil, thanks to the moderator’s mute button (where has that been all of 2020?). This election is on track to have the highest voter turnout rate in a century.

Despite being knocked out of the World Series, three Padres were selected for All-MLB teams. And congratulations to the Dodgers for winning their first title since 1998. We’re not bitter or anything.

Have a safe and happy Halloween! 🎃 (And keep wearing your masks!)

Click here to read this week’s full update.


October 22 – Weekly Update

Feeling lucky? Help shape the future of San Diego transit. MTS wants your feedback on how to improve the transit experience during and after the pandemic. Fill out this survey specifically for Chamber members by the end of October. Three lucky participants will win a $50 gift card!

Californians are breaking voting records this year! Over 4.5 million votes have already been processed, about three times the number of votes cast this time during the 2016 elections. Only 12 more days to go.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


October 15 – Weekly Update

Congratulations to our Small Business Awards winners! Computers 2 Kids, FASTSIGNS, and GoBeRewarded demonstrated resilience, innovation, and compassionate leadership during this year’s pandemic response and recovery.

And congratulations to you! You’ve made it seven months into some variation of quarantine, sweat through heatwaves, virtual learning, and have sent in your ballot early OR made a plan to vote! (This is a not so subtle hint you should have received your ballot and we are encouraging you to vote). It’s been a wildly challenging year, but we’re surviving, together, and we’re sending you a virtual high five, a fist bump, a hug, and a cheers.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


October 8 – Weekly Update

Today is San Diego County’s annual “Check Your Mood Day”, a reminder to check your emotional well-being and screen for depression. Check out Live Well San Diego’s free mental health resources and online self-assessment here.  The way this year has been, we could all use a reminder to prioritize our mental health and reach out to support our friends and family.

Got an old computer gathering dust? Donate it to the “Meet the Need Computer Drive” and help local students access their virtual school. The Meet the Need Computer Drive is a month-long computer donation effort by the Chamber, Cox California, and the San Diego County Office of Education to benefit Computers 2 Kids, a non-profit that refurbishes unwanted technology and gives it to local families in need. This is a great way to do some 2020-cleaning AND help set up local students for success.. (Fun fact- if you’re doing an office-wide computer upgrade, you can donate all your old gear).

Mail-in ballots are arriving this week. This year, there are about 1.9 million registered voters in San Diego county (are you one of them? Check here.) If you’re not voting by mail, options for voting in person have changed. Instead of the usual 1,600 polling stations spread throughout the county, there will be 235 “superpoll locations” open for four days. For mail-in ballots, there are 126 drop-off locations. For more information, read here. Don’t forget to check out our voter guide, where we endorsed the best candidates and policies for the business community.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


October 1 – Weekly Update

Fires, and Purple Tiers, and debates. Oh my. In what promises to be an added cyclical stressor on San Diegans is the Tuesday “will-they-won’t-they” game of our tier designation by the state. We remain, yet again in the red tier, however, there was a considerable question about how likely that would be. San Diego must meet specific metrics to remain red and must improve our outbreak numbers to be considered for the Orange, more permissive, tier.

There was a debate. There are still fires. It’s October and honestly, how did that even happen?

We hope you’re well. Next week we’ll bring some snazzy good news for you… like the names of our small business award winners. (psst: register here for the 10/8 Small Business Awards virtual event)

Click here to read this week’s full update.


September 24 – Weekly Update

2020 is sparing nothing. Friday, the death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was announced. She was 87, an icon, and deeply respected. Undoubtedly, she is also the only Justice to have a cool nickname (“Notorious RBG” in case you lived under a rock), become a meme, and inspire women everywhere to rock a killer accessory while being a total bada** in her field. Needless to say, she will be missed.

WE’RE RED! Our region collectively breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Governor’s data showed that businesses would not be moved into a more restrictive tier on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the county announced the region’s conducted over 1,000,000 COVID-19 tests. (P.S. Wear a mask!)

We’re also … winning? The Padres gave San Diegans another huge boost making it to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. A little bit of hope and some happy experiences mean even more these days. Go Padres!

Click here to read this week’s full update.


September 17 – Weekly Update

Happy Constitution Day! This week also marks six months since the Chamber’s policy team began sending our weekly Legislative Update. Like Venus, one of the brightest objects in the night sky, we hope it’s one of the brightest emails in your inbox. (And hey, if things on Earth keep getting you down, there’s always life on Venus).

Next Wednesday at 10:30am, the Chamber Foundation, in partnership with SDG&E, will host the All Our Talent Legislative Summit, highlighting women in policy-making roles who have been working on issues related to women’s advancement in the workplace. Sign up by clicking the link above.

The Chamber’s 2020 [Virtual] Small Business Awards are right around the corner, on October 8! This year, through a new Small Business Scholarship program, the Chamber will be awarding four Bronze-level Chamber membership renewals to current Chamber members who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance. In addition, three members will be recognized for outstanding achievements in the following categories: Community Minded, Creative Pivot, and 2020 Success Story. Nominations and applications are open until September 30.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


September 10 – Weekly Update

In San Diego, we tout our region’s unique ability to collaborate. That has held especially true this week as the Valley Fire continues to impact our county. The Navy and Marines from NAS North Island, Camp Pendleton, and MCAS Miramar have joined CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire in the fight and while it’s far from over, we received some positive news this morning that the fire is now 32% contained.

Thank you to the first responders and public health responders who are working to keep our community safe.

We’d also like to give a shout to SDG&E for their efforts during the heatwave to keep the power on for San Diegans and their work to mitigate additional fire risk.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


September 3 – Weekly Update

Campaign ads have begun! T-61 days until election day everyone. Mail ballots go out on October 1, and the Chamber voter guide, which you are all excited to get your hands on, will be available soon. Speaking of… you may have heard some things lately about voting. Here’s some quick reminders:

  • You can check your registration status here.
  • Questions about the voting process in a pandemic? Here’s a nice guide.
  • Only vote once. Seriously.

Additionally, we would like to draw your attention to a special city council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, September 8. The council will hear two new ordinances proposed by Councilmember Chris Ward: temporary supplemental sick leave, and emergency recall and retention. Both proposals are remarkably similar to bills passed by the state on Monday, AB 1867 (supplemental sick leave) and AB 3216 (emergency recall and retention). If these bills are signed by the governor in the coming week (which is likely), the local conversation could be moot. However, it is still important that businesses provide feedback as these ordinances would be effective immediately, and with little education, if any, prior to enforcement.  If you or your business has concerns about these policy proposals, please reach out to Rebecca at RLieberman@sdchamber.org

Click here to read this week’s full update.


August 27 – Weekly Update

California’s fire season went full-2020 and not only started early but is ravaging record amounts of land and structures throughout the state. Please, remember that fire season preparedness is absolutely necessary and we cannot be too careful.

We start the final months of 2020 with uplifting local news however, as the county’s positive COVID-19 case rates are at a 3.6% average and remain below the county’s 8% average over a 14-day rolling period. Reopening guidance from the state is expected tomorrow.

More exciting news, tomorrow, SeaWorld San Diego will reopen for the first time since the start of the pandemic with the launch of a new outdoor experience, Zoo Days: Bayside BBQ & Brews! Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the park’s animal exhibits and a limited-time food and drink menu, featuring San Diego’s best craft beers. Details here.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


August 20 – Weekly Update

Some good news: the county is off the state monitoring list. Some bad news: you’ve probably noticed the scorching heat wave that has California in its grip, causing wildfires throughout the state. We want to send our thoughts to the families impacted by the especially brutal fires in this unprecedented time.

In the broader energy debate, the rolling blackouts brought up big policy questions about how to bolster the grid to ensure better reliability as the state has been working toward ambitious goals to increase its use of renewable energy (wind/solar) and decrease its use of natural gas. And while the necessity of doing so is generally agreed upon to be necessary as we address climate change, here’s the current challenge: energy produced by wind and solar often isn’t enough to meet high demands for energy when it’s 100+ degrees and everyone is working from home. So, as we’re finding with most everything during this pandemic, it’s smart- necessary, even- to have a backup plan.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


August 13 – Weekly Update

Even during a pandemic, veepstakes and election enthusiasm have brought back some feeling of election season normalcy. This week, Joe Biden announced California’s own Kamala Harris as his running mate. This is historic–making Harris the first Black and South Asian woman on a major party ticket. The pick is particularly interesting for Californians, as her highly coveted Senate seat now draws plenty of interest from possible successors. For those wondering, here’s how that would work: first, Biden/Harris would have to win in November, then Governor Newsom has to appoint her successor to fill her seat until this term ends in 2022. Not only is the appointment notable as it leaves out election drama, but it would allow that appointee to run as an incumbent in 2022, a significant advantage. Needless to say, the next few months will be eventful.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


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.

Click here to read this week’s full update.


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

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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

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March 25

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March 20

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March 19 – Weekly Update

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