May 7, 2020
The Pandemic Response Accountability Commission has announced a new leader, Robert Westbrooks, and continues to grow its staff. More here.
Congress is considering a Phase 4 package that could total $1 trillion. While not much is known about the details of the bill, top priorities include extending unemployment insurance, more small business assistance, and another round of direct checks to taxpayers.
The Chamber continues to work with a coalition of business organizations in Baja tasked with identifying essential businesses that should be granted authorization to resume operations. In a webinar co-hosted by the Chamber yesterday, the Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism Mario Escobedo stated that over 80 essential businesses in Baja have received authorization to reopen and that they continue to review cases with Governor Bonilla on a daily basis. If you are an essential business and are seeking authorization to reopen, please contact Paola Avila (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kenia Zamarripa (email@example.com).
The U.S. government issued Version 3 on guidance to support state, local, and industry partners in identifying the critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers. This most recent update clarifies the description of a small number of essential services and functions on the list. Here you can find Version 3 in Spanish. If you have feedback or additional questions, please reach out to CISA.CAT@cisa.dhs.gov.
As we continue to advocate for uniformity and alignment of essential operations across Mexico and the U.S., a group of U.S. Senators including Dianne Feinstein (CA), sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to request the Mexican government clarify their definition of essential businesses to resolve uncertainty in the U.S.-Mexico supply chain and our San Diego Congressional delegation sent a letter to the Secretary of State and Mexican Ambassador to the U.S.
The Mexican government declared rail operations are essential and the Baja California Railroad, BJRR, continues to operate without interruption having implemented strict sanitizing procedures.
U.S., Mexican, and Canadian federal governments are working closely to establish protocols and guidelines to successfully transition toward the reopening of manufacturing activities in North America’s automotive industry. The trilateral approach will be announced within the next week.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced updates to operational hours for SENTRI / Global Entry lanes at the Otay Mesa port of entry as a result of decreased traffic volume. New operating hours for SENTRI/Global Entry vehicle lanes will be 4:00am to 10:00pm. Please note that Otay Mesa passenger border crossing remains open 24 hours per day and SENTRI/Global Entry members will be able to use the Ready Lanes, designated for travelers with RFID-enabled documents, when crossing at other hours. Please visit the official DHS web and social media pages for updates on port operations.
Earlier this month, FEMA published a Temporary Final Rule and Notification of Exemptions for the Presidential Memorandum on allocating certain scarce health and medical resources to domestic use. The temporarily final rule directed CBP to detain temporarily any shipments of personal protective equipment (PPE) products pending FEMA’s determination of whether to return shipments for domestic use, issue a rated order for the products, or authorize the export of part or all of the shipment. Exemptions include shipments from U.S. manufacturers with ongoing export agreements when meeting a list of requirements. CBP and FEMA worked closely to issue additional guidance on the implementation of restrictions through a revised list of Frequently Asked Questions about PPE Exports, which includes important information on Letters of Attestation and instructions to upload them into CBP’s Document Imaging System (DIS).
Governor Newsom struck a bright note when he outlined a possible phased approach for reopening of businesses. The plan is comprised of four stages and each step contains basic benchmarks for corresponding industries. It has galvanized many local jurisdictions to develop guidance for industries to reopen incrementally and safely. The state is currently in Stage 1, which includes expanding testing, increasing hospital capacity, and making essential businesses as safe as possible. In the coming weeks, the state is hoping to transition to Stage 2, in which lower risk workplaces will begin to reopen (i.e. retail, manufacturing, offices, and more public spaces). Governor Newsom also announced that schools may reopen in late July or early August to make up for lost learning time and accommodate parents returning to work.
The California Labor Commissioner made public the CA COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers, which is a poster that can be displayed in food sector businesses to help educate employees.
While the Assembly is expected to return on May 4, the Senate will likely not reconvene until May 11, according to Senate Pro Tem Atkins. The Assembly Committee hearings tentatively scheduled already are: May 4- Transportation Committee, and Budget Sub 1; May 5- Communications & Conveyance Committee, Privacy & Consumer Protections Committee, and Public Employment & Retirement Committee; May 6- Veterans Affairs Committee, and Education Committee; May 7- Insurance Committee, and Human Services Committee.
In response to calls for increased accountability and transparency during committee hearings recently, the California Office of Emergency Services (OES) published this website to track things like cases, equipment distribution, and county profiles. It is likely more information will be added.
The upcoming November election is drawing increased attention as speculation continues around the prospect of being conducted exclusively via mail. Governor Newsom directed that all special elections scheduled in a few weeks be conducted via mail which brought out differing viewpoints, and now we turn to the possibility of November’s election. Read more about what that could look like here.
The Chamber continues to participate in the RECOVER Task Force, convened by Mayor Faulconer and Chair of the Board of Supervisors Greg Cox. The group has collectively focused on a few specific items that can contribute to a gradual reopening of businesses including employee/employer safety.
The City’s Budget Review Committee will meet on Monday, May 4. Agenda and supporting documents can be found here.
You may recall that the City of San Diego enacted an emergency moratorium on evictions at the end of March. This emergency law is still in effect and is scheduled to expire on May 31. It remains unknown whether the city will extend the regulation or allow it to expire.
Last Friday, the County announced new changes to the Public Health Order. Effective tomorrow, May 1, residents in San Diego County will be required to wear facial coverings when out in public and within six feet of anyone who is not a household member.
The County is also circulating this guidance for reopening of parks and golf courses. Such checklists or documents are a helpful template for businesses or industries planning their reopen strategy.
On Monday, the County opened two new appointment-only testing sites. One site is in Escondido and the other in Chula Vista. Referrals are required to schedule an appointment, but more information can be found here.
Yesterday, the County announced it has met four of the five federal criteria for reopening. The County is reviewing state and federal criteria to determine when to reopen and ease the Public Health Order restrictions. The County also announced an additional testing site in Southeastern San Diego (referrals/appointments are required and can be made through 2-1-1).
With regard to its larger testing and tracing strategy, the County rolled out its T3 program to address tracing, tracking and testing. It has set a goal of being able to administer 5,200 tests per day.