This week marks another milestone as our community continues to reopen. San Diego County announced exciting news Monday after receiving guidance from the state. A number of businesses can begin reopening tomorrow, June 12, including hotels, museums, gyms, pools, and bars. The full list of businesses and guidance for reopening can be found here. The county also announced that campgrounds and sportfishing businesses could reopen immediately.
On Tuesday, the county expanded the list of reopened businesses to include movie theaters (at limited capacity). As we all start to enjoy the reopened businesses, a friendly reminder that the guidance for facial coverings, social distancing, and prohibition of group gatherings still remain in effect.
This week, the Federal Reserve announced that they expect the economic recovery from the pandemic-induced recession to move slowly. While we have heard for weeks that it is unlikely life would immediately resume back to ‘normal’ when states reopen or a vaccine is developed, the news is sobering as many states have lifted stay-at-home orders and relaxed distancing regulations. The Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, stressed that there is significant uncertainty about the future, given all the unknowns about the coronavirus.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stressed the continued need for capital to reenergize the economy. He suggested to the Senate’s small-business committee that many industries, including travel, leisure and hospitality, and policymakers need to develop a targeted approach to provide financial relief to these sectors.
In the Chamber’s continued work to promote binational coordination as businesses begin to open, the Chamber co-hosted a webinar focused on the tourism industry. Entities from both sides of the border talked about the economic impact of COVID-19 and shared best practices as they begin to resume operations. Travel restrictions continue to be one of the main challenges for businesses, and participants shared the urgency to work collaboratively to follow health protocols to mitigate the spread of the virus and ease restrictions at the border. In addition, the State of Baja is working on a COVID-free certification process for businesses across industries which will help reassure visitors that the industry’s priority is to protect public health.
For reopening guidelines and financial resources from the City of San Diego, State or Federal authorities, please visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s blog and website. In addition, results from a recent survey on the economic impact of COVID-19 on Baja’s business community are available here (in Spanish).
The state is in the final stages of approving the FY21 budget. The senate and assembly have agreed on bill language and are expected to vote on the Budget Act of 2020 on Monday. As mentioned in previous weeks’ newsletters, the Senate’s proposed budget differs from that proposed by the Governor because it assumes the state will receive federal funds.
Late last week, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to address supply chain issues related to procuring PPE, specifically hand sanitizer, respirators, ventilators and masks. Read more about the order here.
California continues to move through the state-wide reopening plan. While still official in phase 2, many phase 3 (higher risk) industries have been given approval by the governor to reopen. Official state guidelines have been made available for day camps, hotels, outdoor museums, community pools, libraries, and gyms/professional sports.
Late Monday night, following hours of public commentary that included over 400 phone calls, the San Diego City Council adopted Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed budget with an 8-1 vote, cutting general fund spending by nearly 10%. The newly adopted budget included $4 million in funding for an Office of Racial Equity and $1.5 million allocated for an outreach program to help homeless San Diegans without law enforcement. Notably, the budget included a $15 million rent relief fund to aid those who have been impacted by the covid-19 outbreak.
On Wednesday, the City of San Diego’s Rules Committee advanced five ballot measures for final review by the full City Council as the penultimate step before confirming them for the November election. The results are as follows:
- 4-1 to forward to the full Council a proposed ballot measure to create a public campaign financing program for qualified candidates for city offices.
- 3-2 to forward to the full Council a proposed ballot measure to eliminate the coastal height limit in the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area.
- 4-1 to forward to the full Council a proposed ballot measure to provide the City Auditor with access to outside legal counsel in certain cases.
- 3-2 to forward to the full Council a proposed ballot measure to implement a ranked choice voting system for city offices in general elections (top 4).
- 3-2 to forward to the full Council a proposed ballot measure to update City contracting policies to remove a ban on project labor agreements.
Capital Opportunities & Resources for Small Businesses:
- CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – PPP funds are still available. Find a financial lender to apply for funds here.
- If you applied for either program, please check in with your bank/financial institution and/or the Small Business Administration ASAP.
- The San Diego and Imperial SBDC has developed a webinar on PPP Loan Forgiveness. Watch it on demand here.
- The San Diego County COVID-19 Small Business & Nonprofit Loan Program’s nonprofit loan pool is now open and accepting applications.
- 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.
International Business Affairs:
Tijuana River Valley
The Mexican section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC, or CILA in Spanish) received $83.9 million pesos (about $3.6 million USD) from Mexico’s National Water Commission (CONAGUA). This is the first action from the plan announced by the Mexican Federal Government last October to address transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River Valley in our region.
Funds will be used to rehabilitate Pump Station CILA in Tijuana. In addition, Tijuana’s Public Utilities Commission (CESPT) will install three new pumps to help divert water from the Tijuana River channel into the city’s sewer system. Upon completion, upgrades will reduce the volume of northbound transboundary flows during the dry season by 70%.
United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
As we prepare for the July 1st implementation date of the new trade agreement, the Chamber along with Ambassador Carlos Gonzalez, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego, and Zaib Shaikh, Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles will host a webinar to discuss the treaty’s benefits and economic opportunities for our binational region. The virtual discussion will take place Tuesday, June 30th from 10:00 to 11:00am and feature trade and industry experts.