JULY 9 – WEEKLY UPDATE
Thank you to all who were able to join us for our 2020 Congressional Conversation this afternoon! Our San Diego delegation spoke candidly on a wide array of topics facing our nation, including police reform, the COVID-19 pandemic, health care, and immigration.
It was a great event to break up a tough week for San Diego, as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to grow throughout the region. Restaurants and other establishments were ordered to close indoor operations (more information below) and any additional reopening is delayed until August 1. Hospitalizations as a result of the coronavirus are at a record high and we encourage all businesses and individuals to comply with state and county guidance and wear a mask when outside of your home.
Recovered COVID-19 patients are needed to meet the demand of local hospital requests for convalescent plasma. While COVID-19 has no proven treatment, plasma taken from those who have recovered may help patients currently fighting the virus because the plasma has developed antibodies against the virus. The San Diego Blood Bank created a form where people can submit their contact information to qualify for convalescent plasma donation.
Late last week, the President signed the PPP Extension Act, giving business owners until August 8 to apply for an initial Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. If you have not yet applied, you can find instructions on how to do so here.
Monday, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department released data on the recipients of the PPP. California leads the nation with $68.2 billion in approved PPP loans. You can view the data here. The timing is significant as Congress begins negotiations on phase four legislation to address COVID-19 response. There are quite a few proposals from both sides of the aisle to address the future of the PPP.
Tuesday, the Trump Administration announced that the United States is withdrawing from the World Health Organization. While the formal withdrawal will not occur until July 2021, this decision has received bipartisan criticism as coronavirus cases continue to rise throughout the county.
The City of Tijuana announced the reopening of gyms, recreational centers, and some retailers in as well as restaurants, hotels, casinos, and local parks as long as they are in compliance with Baja’s Economic Reactivation and Recovery Plan. Businesses are required to complete a COVID-19-Free Work Space certification and comply with health protocols based on their size, operation, and industry. In the City of Tijuana, city officials are conducting inspections to ensure establishments comply with health protocols including limiting access to 25 to 30% of their capacity.
President of México Lopez Obrador met with President Trump in Washington D.C. this week to celebrate the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, aimed at boosting trade and investment between the countries. The presidents signed a joint declaration and agreed to work to ensure North America continues strengthening economic ties while facing the coronavirus pandemic.
Baja’s Secretariat of Water Management, Sanitation, and Protection (SEPROA) announced a 60-day plan to remove an estimate of 300,000 cubic meters of sediment and solid waste along the Tijuana River channel. Since Monday, 3,600 cubic meters of waste and sediment have already been removed. The project is estimated to cost $90 million pesos (about $4.5 million USD), funded by Tijuana’s Public Utilities Commission (CESPT) and the state chapter of the National Water Commission (CONAGUA). Updates on the program and SEPROA’s efforts to address transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River Valley will be reported in Governor Bonilla’s press conferences broadcasted daily through official social media accounts.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers will continue to remain closed through August 10. Trusted Traveler programs provide expedited processing into the United States for pre-approved, low-risk travelers through dedicated lanes and kiosks at ports of entry. These programs allow members to travel 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 at enrolment centers in July and early August must reschedule appointments on or after August 10. Enrollment on arrival remains operational at participating airports.
Our upcoming International Business Affairs Forum will feature a presentation by the Export-Import Bank of the United States on exporting and trade finance solutions for small businesses. The meeting will take place virtually on Wednesday, July 29 at 10am.
On Monday, the Governor added San Diego County to the state’s monitoring list resulting in the county taking action to close certain indoor activities for three weeks.
Late last week, Secretary of State Alex Padilla released the official proposition numbers for the 2020 ballot initiatives. There will be 12 state-wide propositions on the November 3 ballot, many of which will be coming before Chamber policy committees in the coming months’ meetings. Two propositions, Proposition 15 and Proposition 19, aim to reform property tax laws created by Proposition 13 in 1978. The Chamber will continue to monitor both propositions closely and update members as needed.
The state legislature was out on recess this week for the July 4 holiday. They were set to return on Monday, July 13 to begin the final stages of the legislative session. However, after Assemblymember Burke (D-Marina del Rey) and several Capital staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, both houses have delayed their return till July 27.
Yesterday, Governor Newsom’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery launched a new shop local campaign. Entitled Calling All Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal, the campaign hopes to encourage Californians to support local small businesses and help store owners bridge the digital divide. The state has partnered with Google, UPS, and Nextdoor to connect small business owners with free tools and resources, including pro-bono consulting in 30+ different languages, direct access to PPE, and a digital media toolkit.
Monday, the county announced the closure of the following indoor activities: restaurants (curbside pickup and outdoor dining still allowed), bars/breweries/brewpubs (that do not serve food), wineries and tasting rooms, card rooms, family entertainment centers, theaters, zoo activities, and museums. This update to the Public Health Order went into effect midnight Tuesday and will remain in effect for three weeks.
Due to the updated public health order, the Assessor/ Recorder/ County Clerk’s offices are closed to the public for over-the-counter services. Online, phone, and mail services are available. More info can be found here. The offices will remain closed to in-person services through July.
Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors approved a Small Business Stimulus Grant Program. Applications are now open and qualified businesses can apply through October 16 (subject to available funding). The approved $17 million grant funding will be split evenly, with each Supervisorial District receiving $3.4 million for distribution. Businesses are encouraged to apply early. The application and more information can be found here.
This week, the San Diego City Council agreed to put two measures on the November ballot. Voters will have the opportunity to vote to create a new independent police oversight board with subpoena power. This ballot measure, championed by Councilmember Montgomery was approved unanimously. The City Council also unanimously approved a ballot measure that, if approved, would create district-specific elections for the San Diego Unified School District for both primary and general elections.
Earlier this week, Mayor Faulconer issued an executive order waiving permits and fees associated with sidewalk cafes and outdoor dining. Restaurants will now be able to have tables and chairs on sidewalks and in parking lots, as long as they do not install permanent fixtures in the public right-of-way. This order is timely, as it allows restaurants to continue serving their customers for the next three weeks while indoor dining is prohibited throughout the county. The City Council is anticipated to approve a new temporary outdoor business permit program, which will formally waive many permits and other requirements associated with outdoor dining, later this month.
Capital Opportunities & Resources:
- NEW 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.
- NEW 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.
- 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.
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – PPP funds are still available. The deadline to apply for a PPP Loan was extended to June 30. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org