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.

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.

Legislative Update:


This week, both the United States Senate and House of Representatives voted to extend the deadline to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program to August 8. While the changes must still be signed by the president, this extension would give American businesses access to the more than $130 billion of loan money that was previously allotted to the program.


The State of Baja released its Economic Reactivation and Recovery Plan. The initiative seeks to maintain Baja’s economic competitiveness and serve as a guide for business and industry leaders as the region moves forward. The document also provides updated information on the spread of COVID-19  from Baja’s Secretariat of Health. Businesses are required to submit a form with company information and process a COVID-19-Free Work Space certification that outlines mandated health protocols based on their size, operations, and industry.

In the City of Tijuana, city officials are conducting inspections to ensure establishments comply with health protocols. Businesses including restaurants, hotels, service providers, and distributors may  submit a request to reopen through the City of Tijuana by visiting their website .

Health and safety checkpoints have been set up at the Ensenada and Mexicali city access points to ensure adherence to stay at home orders. These efforts will be reinforced in anticipation of the U.S. holiday weekend. Authorities will verify the use of face masks, confirm that the trip’s purpose is essential, and conduct temperature checks for each passenger. Please note there is also a limit of two passengers per vehicle crossing southbound through Mexicali’s land ports of entry.

Senator Ben Hueso and Senator Lena Gonzalez chaired a joint hearing of the Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation and the Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response on “The Impact of COVID-19 in California’s Border Region”. The Chamber provided written and oral testimony highlighting the impact travel restrictions, reduced hours of operations at our land ports of entry, and increased border wait times have on our border communities.


On Monday, Governor Newsom signed the 2020-21 state budget into law. Notably, the budget includes several tax increases totalling nearly $9 billion over the next three years. The majority of these tax changes apply to businesses, including a three year suspension of net operating loss deduction for medium and large sized businesses and a $5 million annual limit on utilization of tax credits. While the 20 budget-related bills signed by the governor implement state-wide spending authority, many decisions relating to the funding of public schools, higher education, and social safety net programs depend on revenues that are still unknown (delayed income tax filing, the pace at which the state’s economy recovers from the pandemic-induced recession, and additional financial aid from the federal government).

In an executive order, Governor Newsom gave local governments the ability to extend moratorium on evictions through September 30.


This week, the County announced major changes to reopening plans. First, all additional sector reopenings (ie. group gatherings, moving into stage 3) were put on hold until at least August 1. Second, all bars, wineries, and breweries that do not serve food (with a few exceptions) have been ordered to close. Finally, all restaurants must close to customers by 10pm and may not reopen until 5am.

This week, San Diego City Council approved a $15.1 million rent relief program and extended the moratorium on evictions through September 30. The rent relief program, administered by the San Diego Housing Commission, will provide a one time grant of up to $4,000 to low-income renters to past-due rent or upcoming rent payments.

The San Diego City Council also officially approved the agreement for SDSU to purchase the Mission Valley stadium site.

On Tuesday, a California appellate court ruled on the side of the City of San Francisco to allow citizen ballot measures to pass with a simple majority (rather than two-thirds). This decision has potential implications on the outcome of the Yes for A Better San Diego (Measure C) initiative to expand the convention center and provide a dedicated stream of homeless funding to San Diego. The ruling is expected to be appealed.

Capital Opportunities & Resources:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program – The SBA reopened the EIDL program application. Eligible businesses can now apply for the low-interested long-term loan and receive a $10,000 advance/grant even if they later choose to reject the loan. Learn more here.
  • The San Diego Foundation’s County COVID-19 Small Business & Nonprofit Loan Program’s nonprofit loan pool is now open and accepting applications. Applications are due by Tuesday, July 7
    • Find out if your organization qualifies here.
  • 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@sdblackchmaber.org

International Business Affairs:

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)  entered into force yesterday. In celebration of this achievement, the Chamber along with the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana, and Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles hosted a webinar to discuss the new treaty’s benefits and economic opportunities for our binational region.

The webinar featured Zaib Shaikh, Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles; Ambassador Carlos Gonzalez, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego; and Sue Saarnio, U.S. Consul General in Tijuana. Speakers agreed the treaty brings certainty and stability to the business community, and will serve as a model for future free trade agreements. As supply chains with Asia continue to experience challenges, USMCA increases North America’s competitiveness to help attract foreign investment. Another huge win for the region came in form of $300 million appropriated in the USMCA Implementation bill which will address transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River Valley.

In celebration of USMCA, President Lopez Obrador will be traveling to Washington D.C. on July 8th to continue conversations to strengthen trade and investment between both countries.

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

Click here to read this week’s complete update.