November 19 – Weekly Update
We’re catching you late this week on purpose. In just about an hour and a half, our Legislative Lounge will begin virtually, so you should be pondering which beverage you’ll be enjoying, which “lounge wear” (get it?!) you’ll be wearing and maybe making a quick snack trip. And because we miss you, very, very much, we want you to join us in the photo booth so we can see your face.
And since you’ll be at home drinking anyway, probably an OK time for us to let you know that the Governor has just announced a statewide curfew from 10p-5am beginning Saturday and lasting one month. Essential workers are exempted. We’ll continue to monitor as this develops.
Wishing you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Be safe and enjoy an extra helping of that green-beans-with-the-crunchy-onions thing because you deserve it. You also deserve a week without being beat over the head with the 2020 news nightmare, so we’ll catch you on December 3rd.
Qualcomm Ventures is investing in four new startups to advance 5G technology, continuing the company’s effort to expand the 5G ecosystem and transform industries. According to the IHS 5G Economic Impact Study, 5G technology is estimated to create 22.3 million jobs and $13.2 trillion in sales enablement by 2035.
Moderna has joined Pfizer with early positive results for their vaccine candidate, reporting 95% effectiveness in late-stage trials. Moderna has to wait to reach 151 COVID-19 cases before applying for emergency authorization. We’d like to give a big thank you to Dolly Parton for donating $1 million to Vanderbilt University, which went towards Moderna’s research. A few other vaccines, including one from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, are waiting for late-stage trial results.
On Wednesday morning, Pfizer and BioNTech released their Phase 3 study results showing their vaccine candidate as 95% effective. The company plans to apply for emergency authorization in the next few days.
The General Services Administration’s reluctance to officially accept the presidential election results is preventing Biden’s transition team from getting to work. Biden’s team is pressuring the GSA for the official designation in order to start receiving intelligence, process security clearances for cabinet members, and prepare for vaccine distribution.
Next up on the vaccine discussion is: Who gets it and when? The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet on November 23. (You can stream the virtual meeting here.) Some communities in California have already identified their priority groups to have the earliest access to the vaccine, no word yet for San Diego.
Final talks for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) began on Wednesday in the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. Contentious issues include changing Confederate base names, and whether the bill should restrict Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
The House passed the Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II on Tuesday, sponsored by Rep. Scott Peters. The bill enables the City of San Diego to continue the operation of the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant without having to reapply for modified permits every five years. The Chamber supported the bill back in 2019.
The temporary restrictions on non-essential travel across the shared ports of entry between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico will be extended for an additional 30 days to December 21st, 2020. The Chamber continues to advocate for reduced border wait times and ease in restrictions at the border which have been impacting our cross-border workforce and binational economy.
The State of Baja legislature approved legislation introduced by Governor Bonilla changing the entity authorized to approve leave of office requests from city councils to state authorities. The newly approved legislation also states that the Governor shall nominate candidates to serve as Interim Mayor in the event of a leave of absence and if after two rounds of voting, candidates do not secure confirmation by the legislature, the Governor shall appoint an Interim Mayor. The new legislation approved over the weekend, prevented Tijuana Mayor Gonzalez from submitting a leave of office request through the City Council after returning to his position. The new legislation may be appealed and heard by the Supreme Court before the end of the year.
The State of Baja continues to conduct visits to businesses to ensure compliance with health protocols in light of the increasing number of new COVID-19 cases across the region. State authorities have already closed dozens of businesses including restaurants and bars that have failed to comply with precautionary measures such as operating at a 25% capacity.
The City of Tijuana launched a public awareness campaign to reinforce health protocols and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Efforts include informational tents in key areas of the city where local authorities distribute free face coverings, provide contact information for the COVID-19 designated hospitals and fever clinics, and inform the community on how to avoid contagion.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public meeting tomorrow, November 20th at 10:00am to share an evaluation of infrastructure projects that 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)246-1234 (Conference ID: 649 311 295#).
Register here for the Chamber’s International Tribute Awards taking place virtually on Tuesday, December 1st. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau will be joining us to share his thoughts on the future of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. We will also recognize outstanding individuals and businesses that have made a significant impact in the international efforts bridging U.S. and Mexican economies every year. 2020 award recipients are:
- Toyota, International Business of the Year
- Luis M. Hernandez, President of INDEX Zona Costa, Cross-Border Leader of the Year
- Cross-Border Xpress (CBX), Cross-Border Hero
The Chamber’s upcoming International Business Affairs Forum will take place virtually on Tuesday, December 8th at 10:00am. The discussion will explore the future of the energy sector in our Cali-Baja region and its role in broadening the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Register here to hear from industry leaders and state officials who will share public-private partnership opportunities and provide an overview of binational projects in our region.
On Monday, Governor Newsom announced changes to the tier system and expanded the use of facial coverings. 28 counties have moved into the Purple Tier, representing 94% of California’s population. Counties will move backward in the tier system after one week of data, as opposed to two weeks, which was the previous requirement.
Governor Newsom has an unexpected budget surplus of $26 billion, and the question before him now is: do we save this, or should we buy 15 people dinner at French Laundry (kidding! Couldn’t help ourselves, it would only feed 10 people). But seriously, the Governor is getting pressure to use the funds to restore some of the significant cuts he made, but many are also pointing out that the state’s looking at a deficit at least into next year that he might want to proactively plan for.
Cal/OSHA will be meeting today to make a decision on their emergency regulation, and it’s likely it will pass without changes. An emergency regulation can be implemented as soon as 10 days following a resolution, meaning this could go into effect by early December. Read the full text here.
A milestone we’re not excited about: California passed 1 million COVID cases. To mitigate the surge, California, Oregon and Washington issued a joint travel advisory urging those traveling to and from the West Coast to quarantine for at least 14 days and avoid non-essential travel.
Thanksgiving and the holiday season is right around the corner, but things are going to look a little different this year. Last Friday, the California Department of Public Health issued guidance on gatherings during the pandemic and was promptly trolled by social media.
Mayor-elect Todd Gloria has made his first staffing selections, and confirmed that he has excellent taste. Congratulations to our own Vice President of International Business Affairs, Paola Avila, for being selected as Chief of Staff!
We are in our first week of Purple Tier restrictions, and won’t be able to move onto the Red Tier until we’ve had two consecutive weeks with a case rate below 7.0 per 100,000 residents. This week, San Diego’s adjusted case rate is 10.7 cases per 100,000 residents.
The county is increasing enforcement efforts by issuing more cease and desist orders and asking law enforcement agencies to help implement the local public health order. The county also created a complaint hotline and email is open to report violations.
This week, the County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to add $2 million to the county’s income replacement program, allowing recipients who tested positive for COVID-19 to stay at home. Supervisor Jim Desmond’s motion to permit businesses to continue operating by Red Tier regulations failed without a second.
In a jam-packed meeting this Tuesday, San Diego City Council unanimously approved development for the Chamber-supported Riverwalk San Diego project. The transit-oriented project covers 195 acres and will include 4,300 housing units, parks, and retail space.
The California State Association of Counties selected five San Diego programs to receive this year’s Challenge Awards, including the Love Your Heart (LYH) program for heart health awareness. Stay tuned–the Chamber is partnering with LYH on one of our challenges during Get Fit San Diego. Get Fit SD is the Chamber’s annual 30-day health and fitness challenge sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. We’ll be kicking off this year’s program on January 11 and ending on February 9, all are welcome to join!
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.
- 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.