Legislative Update – July 23


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.


Congress continues to debate a Phase 4 relief package. While the House Democrats have already passed their iteration of the bill, Senate Republicans are developing their own version of Phase 4. The Senate bill is rumored to expand the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through streamlined loan forgiveness for small businesses and the second round of PPP loan funding for businesses with fewer than 300 employees.

The U.S. Chamber sent this letter to the President, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader McConnell requesting they include liability protections against unwanted lawsuits, support for childcare, additional support for small and mid-sized employers, job training, and state/local assistance for the next coronavirus relief package.


The Regional Military Hospital in Ensenada has been designated as a COVID-19 center to treat individuals with severe symptoms. The hospital is equipped with 20 ICU beds and medical personnel to help alleviate crowds at the Ensenada General Hospital and reduce the risk of exposure.

Health and safety checkpoints have been set up at the Ensenada and Mexicali city access points to ensure adherence to stay at home orders. This includes the Calexico West, Calexico East, and Andrade/Algodones land ports of entry, where checkpoints will be operating from Friday, July 24 at 2:00pm to Sunday, July 26 at 8:00pm. Authorities will verify the use of face coverings, confirm that the trip’s purpose is essential, and conduct temperature checks for each passenger. Please note that there is also a limit of two passengers per vehicle crossing southbound through Mexicali’s land ports of entry.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers will continue to remain closed through September 8. Trusted Traveler programs provide expedited processing between the U.S. and Canada (NEXUS), access land ports of entry to the U.S. from Mexico (SENTRI), import commercial shipments between the U.S./Mexico or U.S./Canada (FAST), and travel internationally through CBP processing (Global Entry). Trusted Traveler Programs applicants with scheduled interviews before or on September 7 must reschedule appointments starting September 8. Enrollment on arrival remains operational at participating airports.


California now has more confirmed cases than any other state, surpassing New York State yesterday morning. While the death rate in California is much lower (8k vs 25k), this news is alarming.

Late last week, the Governor’s office released new industry guidance for schools and school-based programs. Under the new regulations, California school districts cannot reopen until coronavirus infections and hospitalizations have stabilized in their counties. Schools can offer in-person instruction only if their county is removed from the state’s monitoring list for more than two weeks. Districts are also required to test teachers every other month.

Monday, Governor Newsom announced new industry guidance to allow hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and gyms to operate outdoors. However, personal services that require a hygienic environment–like tattooing electrolysis, and piercing–cannot. These regulations were inspired by a similar policy in San Diego, announced by Mayor Faulconer just hours before the Governor’s executive order.

The state legislature is set to resume on Monday, July 27. The constitutional deadline for the legislature to adjourn for the year is August 31. However, it is extremely likely that some budgetary items will be considered during a special session through the fall. Senate leadership asked policy committee chairs to reduce the number of bills heard by their committees by ⅔, requesting that the bills that continue through the cycle are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic and are urgent in nature.

Earlier this month, Governor Newsom created a Strike Team on COVID-19 enforcement, including representatives from the Office of Emergency Services (OES), California Highway Patrol (CHP), Office of Occupational Safety & Health (CalOSHA), Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), barbering & cosmetology, and regional teams. Amidst the uptick in positive cases, Governor Newsom has expanded this group.


Monday, Mayor Faulconer signed an executive order expanding outdoor options for hundreds of businesses and places of worship following state restrictions on indoor operations. The order allows businesses – including gyms, churches, barbershops and nail salons – to expand their operations into private parking lots.

Monday, the county released its revised budget proposal for fiscal year 2020-21. Notably, the Health and Human Services Department’s proposed budget increased in response to continued efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget proposal and public comment portal can be found here. Virtual budget hearings will be held on Monday, August 10 at 9:00am and on Wednesday, August 12 at 5:30pm.

Yesterday, the county announced the establishment of a Safe Reopening Compliance Team. This entity will be responsible for addressing complaints about businesses that are not complying with the public health order. The Safe Reopening Compliance team will work to ensure compliance with the public health order, and if businesses do not comply, they may face strict measures (which have not yet been identified).

The county is increasing outreach to the Latino communities as county data reflects disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infection in this population.

Tuesday afternoon, San Diego City Council confirmed one and rejected another proposed ballot measure for the general election in November. The effort to exempt the Midway-Pacific Highway Community from the Coastal Overlay Zone passed council approval by a 7-2, while an attempt to reorganize city elections to instant runoff voting via ranked-choice was voted down 5-4.

Capital Opportunities & Resources:

  • 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.
  • City of San Diego’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program is accepting applications through August 7. More information on how to apply can be found here.
  • San Diego County Small Business Stimulus Grant – Businesses must have fewer than 100 employees, be headquartered in San Diego County, have 1-year operating history, and have experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to be eligible. Apply here.
  • Calling All Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal – A new state-wide website with resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs, including a digital medial toolkit, quick links to industry guidance, direct access to PPE, and free business consulting through the Small Business Development Center network.
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – PPP funds are still available. The deadline to apply for a PPP Loan was extended to August 8. Find a financial lender to apply for funds here.
    • The San Diego and Imperial SBDC has developed a webinar on PPP Loan Forgiveness. Watch it on-demand 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

International Business Affairs:

Temporary Road and highway closures tonight

The California Department of Transportation announced the closure of eastbound SR-905 Siempre Viva off-ramp on Thursday, July 23rdfrom 8:00pm to Friday, July 24th at 4:00am. Traffic will be redirected to La Media Road or SR-11 to access Enrico Fermi Drive, and a U-turn will be enabled for motorists who miss the detours. In addition, please note that westbound SR-905 will experience a full freeway closure at SR-125. Westbound traffic will be redirected to use the Siempre Viva off-ramp and detour to westbound SR-11. For a map of scheduled closures, alternative routes, and construction updates, please visit Caltrans website and social media pages. Information on the State Route 11 / Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project is available here.

Mexican Ministry of Economy launches DataMéxico

The Mexican Ministry of Economy, in partnership with Mexico’s Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), announced the launch of DataMéxico. This new online tool compiles key information and data on México’s industries, labor force, and demography classified per state and municipality. The platform is aimed at promoting innovation, inclusion, and economic development by helping business and industry leaders make informed decisions.

Upcoming virtual forums:

Mexican Foodvenirs 

The Mexican Ministry of Economy, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and ConnectAmericans, is hosting “Mexican Foodvenirs”, a virtual business matchmaking event to connect small and medium-sized businesses from the food and beverages sector in Mexico with potential buyers from Canada and the U.S. The event looks to explore new opportunities for micro, small, and medium-sized businesses through the new trilateral agreement (USMCA). The virtual business matchmaking meetings will take place the week of July 27-31 and are free for all participants. For event details, and to register, please visit their website.

IBA Forum

The Chamber, in partnership with the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., and PCM Corporativo, will host an International Business Affairs Forum on Wednesday, July 29 at 10:00am focused on trade and exporting tools and how to navigate the cross-border business landscape.

Companies from around the world are tapping into the business expertise that exists in our binational region. Together, we have created a $2.5 billion integrated manufacturing supply chain which also boosted our region to the largest medical device cluster in the world. Investors, entrepreneurs, and small business owners aiming to expand to global markets have found a valuable and sustainable business environment here. Register here to join the conversation and learn about how trade finance solutions can help mitigate risk in today’s business climate and expand sales in new or existing markets while leveraging complimenting resources available in our Cali-Baja region.