June 11, 2020
The events of this past week, across the nation, and here in San Diego, are a painful reminder of just how much work remains to be done when it comes to racial equality and justice in America. We hear the voices calling for overdue change and action. The Chamber is committed to doing our part to see that positive change is made and will continue to focus our efforts on creating economic opportunity for all, as we are guided by our mission to make the San Diego region the best place to live and work.
On Monday, Jerry joined Mayor Faulconer, City Council President Gomez, Councilmember Montgomery, Police Chief Nisleit, and community leaders to announce the San Diego Police Department will stop using a carotid restraint as a use-of-force procedure effective immediately. During the press conference, Jerry noted that this is the beginning of “the road to discussing meaningful change in police and community relations.” Since Monday’s announcement, 15 other policing agencies throughout the county, including the Sheriff’s Department, have agreed to ban the restraint.
LEAD San Diego, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Chamber, hosted a discussion with Dr. Steven Jones, CEO of JONES, and Starla Lewis, Professor Emeritus at San Diego Mesa College, on the long-overdue reckoning on policing practices and systematic racism and how we as leaders of teams, organizations, and families can step up and be part of the change our country needs. You can watch a recording of the powerful webinar here.
Yesterday evening, the Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. The bill, which was passed by the House last week, extends the time period in which borrowers must spend their PPP loans from 8 weeks to 24 weeks and lowers the percentage of the loan required to be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%. The bill is expected to be signed by the President shortly.
Expanded federal unemployment benefits (extra $600 per week) are set to expire July 31. Senator Portman (R-OH) proposed a $450 weekly back-to-work benefit, which is starting to gain traction.
The State of Baja’s Secretariat of Health has provided an overview of the COVID-19 curve across the state from March to May, as well as a thorough report on confirmed cases per municipality in relation to the rest of Mexico and the world. The report included hospital occupancy status at the state’s COVID-19 designated centers. However, medical staff and PPE is needed more than additional hospital beds. An update on Baja’s confirmed COVID-19 cases and efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus is posted daily by Baja’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Alonso Perez Rico, and Baja Governor Jaime Bonilla through official social media accounts. For more information on Baja’s COVID-19 confirmed cases per municipality, please click visit the state’s COVID-19 website.
As businesses in San Diego continue to reopen, the Chamber is working with CBP to ensure our cross-border workforce performing essential operations continues to have access to the port of entry and our shared consumer base has access to our businesses.
VP of International Business Affairs Paola Avila talks about the important role our cross-border workforce plays in every single stage of the healthcare industry during the pandemic, as in this New York Times article.
Over the weekend Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed Los Angeles to be in a state of emergency shortly before midnight Saturday, deploying members of the National Guard to help the county respond to arson, looting, vandalism, and violent clashes between protesters and police. California closed state offices in downtown or city locations on Monday, and the state Legislature canceled nearly all of its scheduled hearings.
Recognizing the threat COVID-19 continues to pose to public health, Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday issued a proclamation declaring a statewide General Election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, and signed an executive order to ensure that Californians can exercise their right to vote in a safe, secure and accessible manner during the upcoming election. This follows the Governor’s May executive order requiring county elections officials to send vote-by-mail ballots to Californians registered to vote in the General Election, while ensuring that those who may need to access in-person voting opportunities are able to.
The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Wednesday night, California had 115,310 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,127 deaths from the virus, according to a CalMatters tracker.
Last week, the County approved additional passive activities on beaches effective June 2. While San Diegans are excited to take advantage of warmer weather and lifted restrictions, parking lots still remained closed.
On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to send a letter to Governor Newsom asking approval for reopening of additional facilities (such as gyms, hotels, pools, cultural venues). The Board also approved an update to triggers to amend the Public Health Order that will be monitored as the local economy continues to reopen. The Board unanimously approved an extension on the moratorium on evictions through June 30.
San Diego City Council approved the creation of a rent relief fund on Tuesday, however, it is still unknown how much will be in the fund and where the money will come from.
International Business Affairs:
Tijuana River Valley
The State of Baja inaugurated the Secretariat of Water Management, Sanitation, and Protection (SEPROA) with the objective of providing a better supply and service. Secretary Luis Faz Apodaca now takes the lead on the administration and operation of water organisms within the state. This includes Tijuana’s Public Utilities Commission (CESPT) and the state chapter of the National Water Commission (CONAGUA). SEPROA will join Governor Bonilla’s daily press conferences to report on efforts to clean the Tijuana canal, Baja’s water needs and priorities, and the economic recovery of water organisms.
United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
As we prepare for the July 1st implementation date of the new trade agreement, the Mexican federal government, through the Secretariat of Economy and in partnership with Baja’s Secretariat of Sustainable Economy, hosted a seminar on advantages and economic opportunities provided by USMCA. A recording of this seminar is available here (in Spanish).
The Office of Economic Affairs at Mexico’s Embassy in the U.S. launched a new portal with key information pertinent to the United States-Mexico-Canada new trilateral agreement, updated data on Mexico’s trade with its North American partners, and additional information related to diverse business opportunities in Mexico.