Oh. My. Cron. It’s our final newsletter of the year and while we definitely made it, technically, the news of the sweeping Omicron variant has us wishing we were going out on a more celebratory note. But even with Omicron making up the majority of all infections, we’re hopeful that San Diego’s high vaccination rate (high five!) will spare our healthcare workers and their families another round of brutality. Maybe we skip the mistletoe this year, guys.
It’s been quite a year. We salute all of you businesses that weathered the storm(s) and continue to reinvent in the face of uncertainty. And still, after a tumultuous year, we find ourselves asking, what exactly is bitcoin?
Guess who’s back, back again? Build Back Better is back! Maybe? After a very tense and very public exchange of official statements between Senator Manchin and the White House, renewed talk of a possible compromise bill after the holidays has popped up this week. However, and this is a big however, not everyone buys it and many to the Senator’s left are pretty mad.
After two years of research, the scientists at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research announced that they have created a COVID vaccine that will also be able to tackle any and all other variants. The Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine has just successfully finished animal trials and phase 1 of human trials, but has much more evaluation to do before approval. Known as “SpFN,” and developed entirely in the public setting, this could be a real game changer, and we think that’s “spiffy.”
The EPA adopted stronger auto-emission standards that will be in effect from 2023-2026. A set of more far-reaching rules for 2027 and beyond are also in the mix. It is expected that the “fleet average” of miles per gallon will reach 40 by 2026 (currently sittin’ at 38). A key point: the average means that the low efficiency trucks that are some of y’all’s favorites can still be produced… they just have to be balanced out by super high mpg models.
From the “still learning” file: some are pushing the CDC to reduce quarantine guidance/requirements from 10 days to five days as people grow increasingly alarmed about worker shortages as cases rise due to Omicron. Dr. Fauci has said that no decisions have been made yet, but data is starting to indicate that breakthrough infections (so, yeah, sorry gotta be vaccinated people!) have people infectious for shorter periods of time.
Student loans are paused again- with payments set to resume May 1, 2022.
On Tuesday, President Biden announced plans to expand access to COVID-19 testing across the country. Beginning in January, the federal government plans to distribute 500 million at home COVID-19 tests and increase resources to hospitals. This will hopefully help us all keep our manners as we troll CVS’s for rapid tests.
We all know that Santa Claus’ favorite form of transportation are sleighs… but apparently also gondolas! People dressed as Santa Claus rowed during a Christmas regatta in the canals of Venice, Italy. What a way to sing some Christmas carols. (Cough, where’s my rondola?)
Just in time for the new year, Chris Magnus has officially taken the oath of office to serve as the new commissioner of CBP along with Acting Commissioner Troy Miller, who has been named CBP’s new deputy commissioner. The Chamber has met with Miller during its previous delegation trips and we look forward to continuing collaborating with CBP to address issues in our border region.
Millennials making history! Chile elected its youngest ever president, former student protest leader Gabriel Boric. The 35-year-old stated that he will expand indigenous rights and welfare and was celebrated by hundreds of thousands who flocked onto the streets as he was declared victorious.
Our partners at the New American Economy (NAE) will merge with and become the American Immigration Council to enhance their work to expand and protect the rights of immigrants, ensure their ability to succeed economically, and help make the communities they settle in more welcoming. The Chamber has collaborated with NAE in efforts to advocate for a comprehensive immigration reform and the Welcoming San Diego strategic plan which resulted in the creation of the office of Immigrant Affairs in the City of San Diego.
Baja California Governor Marina del Pilar Avila announced the launch of a Business Financing program to strengthen small and medium-sized companies with a budget of more than one billion pesos. This program is aimed at entrepreneurs who require supplies and tools as an initial investment to start their businesses.
Governor Newsom has announced that all healthcare workers in the state will be required to get the booster. The CSU and UC system has also followed suit.
Most UC campuses will be returning to remote learning for at least the beginning of the winter quarter due to rises in omicron variant cases. However, the Governor has since also reiterated commitment to keeping K-12 open for in person learning with tools that include rapid at-home tests for students.
Initiative Watch 2022: we’ve got a living wage initiative, but up next is the mission to legalize ferrets. Not sure there’s much to add to that statement.
A judge ruled against the SDUSD vaccine mandate that does not allow for personal belief exemptions, holding that vaccine mandates can only be implemented by the state legislature. The SDUSD Roadmap had required all students over the age of 16 to be fully vaccinated in order to attend school in person for the spring semester, or participate in independent study. With the ruling, SDUSD will be required to allow all students to attend school in person if they have received 10 state mandated vaccines – excluding the COVID-19 vaccine.
A new Redfin housing study shows why it’s more difficult to buy a home in San Diego. Seventy-two percent of homes sold in the region receive competing offers, making San Diego the third most competitive housing market in the country. According to the study, the most competitive housing markets in the nation are Richmond, Virginia and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mayor Gloria announced his staff will pursue a two track strategy to address the court ruling on Measure E. Staff will begin to prepare an additional environmental report while the City appeals the court ruling. The appeal process will take over a year, so the EIR could allow for a re-vote in 2022 in case the appeal fails.
San Diego’s polystyrene foam ban is set to be enacted following the release of an environmental impact report that concluded that there would be insignificant increases in GHG emissions upon implementation.
Unemployment in San Diego has returned to March 2020 levels, just before stay at home orders went into effect. The strongest employment surges have been in the retail sector with seasonal hiring surges.
If you employ military service members, veterans and reservists, be sure to check out the California Military Employer Partnership’s new website with free resources for military employers.
This week, Mayor Gloria signed the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update into law. After what we will just call a “long time” coming, the plan outlines future land uses, including buffer zones between the industrial components of the area and the residential, as well as affordable housing requirements.
San Diego City Council is on legislative recess until Friday, January 7.
Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:
- The Housing Action Package to implement Mayor Todd Gloria’s Homes For All of Us initiative was heard at Planning Commission on December 16 and will now go to the Land Use & Housing Committee & City Council sometime in early 2022. Included in this package are SB 9 implementation and revisions to current ADU regulations. If you have any questions or feedback on the package, please contact Angeli Calinog.
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. If you have any questions, please contact Angeli Calinog.
- The SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on December 17.
Capital Opportunities & Resources
- The California Competes Grant guidelines for FY 2021-22 have now been posted. The application period will start on January 3, 2022 with $120 million available. More information can be found here in the coming weeks. Applications must be submitted by January 24.
- The CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund provides assistance for eligible expenses to businesses in the City of San Diego and City of Chula VIsta impacted by the pandemic.
- 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) that were 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.