February 11 – Weekly Update
In what could be very optimistic news, Dr. Fauci lifted a lot of spirits by saying that he expects April to be “open season” for vaccines. Get your arms ready, people!
Johnson and Johnson has applied for FDA Emergency Use Authorization for their vaccine, aiming to supply 100 million doses in the first half of 2021. Trials show the vaccine to be 66% effective against moderate COVID and 85% effective against severe forms of COVID. Although less effective than Moderna and Pfizer, this vaccine only needs one dose to provide protection against COVID.
Carlsbad-based Quidel has opened a new manufacturing facility to produce its QuickVue rapid antigen test. The company received FDA emergency use authorization in December.
Congrats to Chamber board member and Cox Communication’s Sam Attisha, who was named the 2021/22 board chair for the California Cable & Telecommunications Association.
Costar released their annual real estate report for 2020. Office leases are down (obviously), but industrial and residential real estate was on the rise. Surges in biotech and industrialization in the Otay Mesa region drove some of these trends.
Stone Brewing returns to San Marcos, 25 years after opening their original location. They’re leasing a 110,000 sq ft facility to expand distribution. Fun fact – craft brewing grew 20% in the southern California region, and Stone Distributing makes up 30% of all retail craft sales in San Diego County.
Trump’s second impeachment trial began on Tuesday. 67 votes are needed to convict, so 17 Republicans would have to break with partisan lines. Currently, only a few have signaled their intention to do so.
Vice President Kamala Harris was the tie-breaking vote on the President’s $1.9 trillion relief package after an all-night session last week. The budgetary move will help push Biden’s coronavirus release package into law without requiring Republican support, known as the reconciliation process.
On Monday, the House Ways and Means committee announced their markups of the relief bill including direct payments of $1,400 per person, extensions of federal unemployment benefits, and improved health coverage. The bill still has to get through other House committees and is expected to fully pass through the House by the end of the month.
J.P. Morgan Chase & the University of Chicago have published a study that says, in summary, “no additional jobless benefits didn’t deter people from pursuing work.” This just before the March 15th end to supplemental unemployment benefits for those out of work.
The Department of Justice has dropped its suit against California’s Net Neutrality Law. It’s also dropped support for a Supreme Court challenge to the ACA.
The Department of Defense announced the launch of free tax services for military service members and their families. The tax preparation will be available through mid-October.
The Biden administration plans to ask remaining US attorneys appointed by the Trump administration to step down this week. Under the Bush and Obama administration, the US attorney transition was more gradual, while the Clinton and Trump administrations both requested immediate resignations.
In preparation for Phase 2 of Mexico’s vaccine distribution plan, the federal and state governments launched websites allowing individuals over 60 years old to pre-register for the vaccine. With an overwhelming flow of people registering within minutes, the federal government’s website crashed and has been on and off since. However, after dealing with technical issues at first, the state’s portal is now working smoothly. Registered individuals will receive a notification when they are able to schedule an appointment at one of the state-designated vaccination sites.
Tijuana Mayor Arturo Gonzalez met with his Secretary of Education Karla Ruiz to discuss his transition and ensure priority projects including the city’s COVID-19 response continue in place. Mayor Gonzalez has stated he will not seek re-election and is taking an indefinite leave from office starting at the end of the month. Ruiz also met with Mexicali Mayor and governor candidate Marina del Pilar Avila and announced she registered as a pre-candidate with the MORENA party for Tijuana’s mayoral race.
In other election news, Tijuana businessman and former mayor Jorge Hank Rhon is running for governor for the third time. Hank Rhon is now running with PESBC (Partido Encuentro Solidario de Baja California), a conservative political party that has partnered with MORENA in the past, including the coalition that secured President Lopez Obrador’s election in 2018.
Earlier this week, San Diego County declared a public health crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border due to transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River Valley in our region. All five members of the San Diego board of Supervisors voted to approve this measure, acknowledging that the diverse sources of contamination have a direct correlation to health outcomes in our region and requiring the county to take action to mitigate pollution.
The U.S. Environmental and Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public meeting taking place virtually on Friday, February 26 at 10:00am. The agency will provide an update on the evaluation of infrastructure projects to support a comprehensive solution to transboundary pollution issues in our region, in accordance with the new trilateral agreement (USMCA). You can join the meeting by clicking here or calling 1(628)246-1294 (Conference ID: 264 897 296#). For additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of San Diego’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice announced a call for applications for non-residential Fellows based in Southern California and Baja California working in academia, civil society, or the public sector to build a more inclusive and peaceful border region. The fellowship period is 12 months, during which time participants will learn from and with other leading Fellows and the Kroc School’s team. Fellows additionally receive an $850/month fellowship and a grant of up to $5,000 for research or a related activity that furthers their work. The Kroc Institute is hosting a virtual info session on February 11 (register here) and applications must be submitted by February 22.
This Monday, the Division of Workers’ Compensation issued a Notice of Emergency Regulation Re-Adoption and plans to file on February 16. The emergency regulations will allow workers compensation claims to move forward during COVID restrictions without delay. More information here.
The pandemic has been a rough time for the state Employment Development Department. On Monday, Asm. Several assembly members brought forward proposals to reform the state unemployment system last week, including AB 74, which looks to provide other options for people to receive benefits (besides a Bank of America debit card).
Proposition 19 will take effect February 16. This has implications for anyone trying to pass their property to a child or grandchild. If a child or grandchild lives in the inherited home as a primary residence, Prop 13 tax rates still apply. If it’s their second residence, property taxes will be reassessed at current value. Read more in this article featuring Chamber Young Leader member Jordan Marks.
The California Supreme Court did not hear a gig worker union’s challenge to Prop 22. While the case was not heard at the Supreme Court, gig workers and unions can still sue rideshare companies in lower courts.
California State Senator Mike McGuire has introduced a bill aimed towards reviving the state’s tourism industry. The bill would contribute $45 million to an in-state travel campaign called “Calling All Californians”.
The US Chamber of Commerce compiled a very helpful list of small business grant programs.
Don’t wait until it’s your turn to sign up for MyTurn (have your employees sign up too).
Governor Newsom’s committee charged with review of the penal code has issued its (first annual set of) recommendations.
On Monday, Governor Newsom came down to San Diego to tour the Petco Park Vaccination Superstation. At the press conference, he praised San Diego’s leadership for being the first in the state to implement a vaccination superstation.
Expansion of the County Small Business Grant Program was also passed, with further direction to consider the number of small businesses per district to ensure equitable distribution across each supervisorial district. Tuesday’s action will allocate at least $30 million in grants for small businesses with 20 or fewer employees, and will allow the county to prepare for grants to be allocated once federal funding becomes available.
County Supervisor Nora Vargas is leading a vaccination pilot program in the South Bay, working together with partners including the Chicano Federation, Mental Health America, and the Latino Health Coalition. The program aims to address the disparate vaccination access among San Diego’s Latino population by providing vaccination information and help booking appointments.
The county’s Love Your Heart campaign is well under way. This week, from February 8 through the 14th, San Diegans can get their blood pressure checked (if you’re out for essential activities).
The Small Business Development Center is offering free one on one business advising and resources to help small businesses safely adapt to the Purple Tier guidelines.
Seems like a weird time to announce this, but San Diego made the list of the top healthiest cities. And if you thought COVID-19 isn’t challenging enough, the UT this week carried a nice rundown of all of the other (identity) crises San Diego is grappling with.
This Wednesday, Congressman Levin held a discussion on climate change with expert Dr. David Victor from UC San Diego. The discussion covered new opportunities for electric vehicle manufacturing and clean energy jobs under the Biden administration.
Capital Opportunities & Resources:
- NEW: Round 2 of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program opened this week. Qualifying businesses have until SUNDAY 2/8 to apply. Interested applicants can review eligibility at com. Applicants who submitted their application and all documentation in the first round do not need to reapply; qualified applications will be automatically rolled over into the next funding round for consideration.
- 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) 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.