January 6 – Weekly Update

We know, it’s cold. We are also very cold, and we also don’t know where to get a rapid test but the County suggests you look here.  Andy Cohen, also cold and “over-served” on NYE, summed up what we were all feeling by the end of the year… and added some very enthusiastic feelings about local governance.

Diets don’t work for everyone – so let’s skip the restriction and focus on making fitness fun (yes, fun). Join us for our annual #GetFit challenge, a fun and friendly fitness competition designed to help you become more active and healthy for 30 days to get your year started off right. We start next week, so register here.

(Oh yeah, and happy new year!)

Business News: 

Congratulations to the UPS Store for taking the top prize in the 133rd Tournament of Roses Parade for their float “Rise, Shine & Read!” The 35’ by 50’ float was a giant rooster reading a story to their family of chicks to show the importance of literacy.

Most of us love the new state regulations allowing cocktails to go..but not everyone. Check out this WSJ article explaining how new laws are accelerating competition between the beer and liquor industry.

New life goals: you can have a career as a “cookie monster.” San Diego’s own, the Cravory, is highlighted in the Business Journal for its incredible growth and success-during-the-pandemic-that-won’t-end story.

If the COVID-test situation has you stressed, here’s a good article about how to tell if the test you’re thinking about buying is legit. And if you’re aware of any scams, please report them stat because that is the kind of thing that we decidedly do NOT need in 2022. As the demand for testing remains high, public officials are reminding residents to not go to San Diego County’s emergency rooms – who are facing an increased number of patients.

Legislative Updates


Today is, of course, the anniversary of the January 6th Capitol Riots, and we are thinking of our own San Diego delegation members, their teams, and their families as we revisit footage and memories of that day.

The US logged a record number of cases on Monday, clocking in at over 1 million new cases. There’s no snappy way to slice this one, but we’re going to remind you that your best bet at keeping yourself and your family safe is to get vaccinated AND get boosted.

Speaking of that, the President received a live briefing and provided public remarks about the nation’s COVID response. During which, he announced an increased purchase of the Pfizer antiviral pill, reimbursement for at-home COVID test purchases, and the ability (coming soon) to request an at-home test kit be sent to your home.

Yeah, so how does that whole reimbursement thing work? Well. Good question. As of this writing, we don’t have a lot of details, but we expect that to begin next week, and that you’ll go through your insurance company to get that refund. Official guidance is expected by January 15.

On Monday, the FDA authorized the Pfizer booster shot for children 12-15, and will allow booster shots to be administered 5 months after the second vaccine dose, instead of 6. The booster is also authorized for immunocompromised children 5 and up.  Parents of kids under five remain stressed (hugs).

The CDC is standing by their isolation recommendations. On Tuesday, the CDC restated that people with COVID-19 can return to work after five days if they are asymptomatic and they wear a mask for five days. Anyone exposed to COVID-19 who is not fully vaccinated and boosted, the recommended isolation period is ten days. Currently there is no recommendation to include testing as part of the isolation guidance. Don’t @ me, bro.

And now..we wait. The Supreme Court will hear challenges to the federal vaccine mandate tomorrow.  There are four appeals questioning the legality of the mandate, which will be heard in two sets of oral arguments. The first question: Does OSHA have the authority to enforce a vaccine mandate for employers with 100+ employees? The second addresses the rule requiring staff working for Medicare/Medicaid providers to be fully vaccinated.

Would you like to be in charge of throwing money around? The White House has asked states to appoint an official designee who will be in charge of distributing money from the federal infrastructure bill that passed last year. (Does the Chamber count as infrastructure? Kidding!)

Apple is the world’s first public $3 trillion company. Perhaps now they’ll stop making my old iPhone less functional when they roll out new models (we’re on to you!)

Senator Schumer is throwin’ down on the basic operating rules in the Senate. TLDR; the Senate Leader on Monday said that unless Republicans get out of his way on election reform, Senate Dems will change the filibuster rules and vote on the reforms by 1/17 with or without them. The gamble he’s making is that he may, or may not, have the votes. Senators Manchin and Synema remain unclear in their position on this, and Senator Manchin is making some very noncommittal comments to the press.

In less very heavy news…. It is estimated that 1 billion birds die every year from flying into buildings. (Which leads us to asking, wait how many birds are out there that we can lose a billion a year?!) And to that effect, there are standards that are emerging to make buildings bird-friendly. Go figure.


Forget Tinder, the Chinese city of Luanzhou started its own database of single people to help its residents find friends and potential dating partners. As Valentine’s Day approaches, the number of single people in the country is estimated to be over 200 million according to official data. Love is not letting COVID get in the way, and the city is planning to set up “blind date corners” soon.

Don’t want to wait for the government’s help?

A 29-year-old bachelor from London is advertising himself on billboards across Birmingham in the UK looking for potential suitors. We wish great fortune on his quest for love.

A perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo was found in Eastern China and everyone that watched Jurassic Park (or Jurassic World, for those of you Gen Z’s out there) is either excited or terrified. #CleverGirl.

As border restrictions impacting our border region were lifted, U.S. consulates in Mexico have reached a wait time of up to 701 days to process non-immigrant visas including B1/B2 tourist visas. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar stated the visa backlog is a priority for the White House.

The Biden administration brought back the “Remain in Mexico” program and San Diego became the second border city to implement it. Asylum seekers from Central America, Haiti, and other countries will wait in Northern Mexican towns while their cases are reviewed. The Mexican government has asked the U.S. to address concerns including funding for migrant shelters and transportation to/from ports of entry.

Foreign-born truck drivers crossing into Canada and the U.S. will be required to be fully vaccinated starting January 15 and 22, respectively. Montana trucking companies voiced their concerns, echoed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, that such mandates could cause further shipping delays. It is estimated that up to 30,000 Canadian truck drivers will be forced out of their jobs if the plan is not delayed. Down in our U.S.-Mexico border, the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas and business leaders at El Paso-Juarez don’t expect such delays thanks to the (southern) border region’s high vaccination rate.

Canada is also bringing back COVID testing requirements, including for vaccinated Canadian citizens. Travelers are still required to fill out the ArriveCAN form which requires them to submit their vaccination status and COVID-19 test result. The only exception? Fully vaccinated British Columbia residents who traveled to the U.S. for less than 24 hours to go shopping. Cha-ching!

Baja announced a vaccine requirement for restaurants, offices, and other establishments starting this week. Alternatively, a negative COVID-19 test may be presented. The requirement impacts employees, customers, suppliers and just about anyone. It is unclear if there’s any exceptions and/or whether businesses face any fees or repercussions upon failure to comply.

The USMCA drama continues. Canada is said to join Mexico in calling for an arbitration panel to resolve a dispute with the U.S. over how to interpret rules of origin. What’s the tea? Our neighbors don’t agree on how the U.S. calculates the percentage of a vehicle that comes collectively from the three countries. In addition, Canada filed a notice to challenge U.S. tariffs on softwood lumber under Chapter 10 of USMCA. Canada annually exports about $8 billion worth of softwood lumber and the U.S. happens to be its largest customer. The U.S. had previously announced an average duty of 17.9% on softwood lumber imported from Canada, twice the previous rate.

San Diego CBP welcomed a new Director of Field Operations, Mr. Sidkey Aki. Director Aki formerly served as Port Director at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Port Director of the Laredo Port of entry, and had served as the Port Director of the San Ysidro Port of Entry since 2013. Former DFO Pete Flores has moved on to D.C. and now serves as Executive Assistant Commissioner. We look forward to continued collaboration with both of them in their new positions to address border challenges in our region.

Okay, so nobody wants nuclear war… officially. The P5 (which is the US, UK, China, France, and Russia) put out a joint statement that confirmed they are all signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that says a “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” One less thing to worry about in 2022.


Lipstick is back on hold. The state’s mask mandate is extended through February 15th. It was originally set to expire on January 15th.

SB 1383, passed in 2016, took effect January 1. The law works to reduce methane emissions in landfills by cutting down on organic waste, with a goal to reach a 75 percent reduction by 2025. Groceries and other food businesses are required to donate fresh food to food relief organizations rather than throwing it away. Local businesses are already working with organizations like Feeding San Diego and the San Diego Food Bank to distribute food throughout the region.

So, where did we leave the whole redistricting for state seats thing? The best summary is probably “Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting” as people move, announce, and recalibrate for what is bound to be a saucy 2022 election season.

So far, this is all just Monday’s news. But! Assemblymember and Appropriations Chair Lorena Gonzalez has announced she’s resigning to take a new gig with the California Labor Federation as a preparatory step for her role as executive-secretary (the head honcho) in July. Special election to come. Other announcements about not running include: Asm. Education Chair McDonnell (Long Beach), and Senator Leyva (Pomona).

And on the elections-thread, Senator Josh Newman has introduced recall reform. His bill, SCA 6 would put the Lieutenant Governor in the place of the Governor if recalled… which sort of takes the drama out of the current process.

Have you gathered yet that this is an election year? Larry Elder, who you may remember from his time as the lead contender in the Newsom recall in 2021 has announced he will NOT run for Governor in this regularly scheduled election for the seat this year.

While we’ve seen a lot of snow and rainfall over the past few weeks, the drought is not over. Earlier this week, the State water resources control board issued new emergency mandates to stop Californians from wasting water that will last for up to a year. A couple of the prohibited practices include washing sidewalks with potable water and washing a car without an automatic shut-off nozzle.

This week, the state launched the California Mortgage Relief program to help homeowners who have been unable to pay housing payments due to the pandemic. Eligible applicants can receive up to $80,000 per household, and must be at or below 100% of their County’s area median income among other requirements found here.

Single payer is back. Or, well, the legislature is back and they are voting to move the single payer bill forward. Key difference between the single payer showdown of 2017 and this version is that it has a pay-for mechanism. What’s that mean? 2.3% excise tax on business, 1.25% payroll tax on business with 50+ employees, and personal income tax tiered based on income. There is no way this does not become a major policy focal point in 2022.

And while the 2022 ballot is still shaping out, we’ll definitely see health care related initiatives including overturning a flavored tobacco law, the return of a medical malpractice ballot measure, and a third attempt to regulate dialysis clinics.

If you’re planning on a Capitol visit… maybe reconsider that, but if you insist you should know the Senate directed its staff to limit one person in office per day and the rest will be working remotely due to COVID.


It’s that time of year where San Diego’s Councilmembers receive public input and start drafting their budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2023. The deadline for budget priority memos is January 14, so if you’re going to ask that they send a check to your address, get that request in soon.

Speaking of public input, the City has heard our pleas and published a much less-bad legislative calendar! City Clerk Liz Maland clocks in what is arguably the City’s first major victory of 2022.

We’re gonna need everyone to be very, super, like really careful with candles for the next few weeks. COVID-induced isolation has upwards of 100 firefighters out of commission, leaving the local fire department with really limited staff. It’s expected to be an issue for the next few weeks.

Lara Gates, former City Planner and Deputy Chief of staff to former Councilmember Georgette Gomez, will return to the City of San Diego as the Deputy Director for the Cannabis Business Division (yes, that’s CBD). CBD was recently awarded grant funding from the state to help advance their permitting process and to aid future equity applicants in the process.

The UT carried a story over the holiday of Chamber member EnerSmart Storage’s developing portfolio of 44 intelligent battery storage systems rolling out across San Diego County.

SB 9, Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins’ bill that allows homeowners to split their lots for more homes, is officially in effect and local jurisdictions across the state are publishing SB 9 implementation and guidelines. The County of San Diego has created a webpage that will soon include an interactive page to check if your property qualifies for SB 9.

Captain Amy Bauernschmidt, the first woman to lead a nuclear carrier in U.S. Navy history, led the USS Abraham Lincoln out on deployment from Naval Air Station North Island on Monday, making history in the process.

Conventional wisdom in this town is to proceed with caution on all things Convention Center-related, but a new appellate court ruling on a similar tax initiative out of Oakland is the latest in a string of encouraging precedents ahead of our own case here in San Diego.

Minimum wage in San Diego increased from $14 to $15 per hour this weekend. The increase in minimum wage was part of the Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance passed in 2016.

Mixing up your CDC, CDPH, OSHA and Cal/OSHA guidance? San Diego businesses have their own quarantine guidance from our County Health Officer Order. Check out this thread for an explanation of quarantine and isolation rules – since it builds off of both CDC and state rules, this is what you should use. Stay tuned for a new and improved Return to Work Guidance.

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • The Housing Action Package to implement Mayor Todd Gloria’s Homes For All of Us initiative will go to the Land Use & Housing Committee on January 13 & City Council on February 1. Included in this package are SB 9 implementation and revisions to current ADU regulations. If you have any questions or feedback on the package, please contact Angeli Calinog.
  • The Planning Commission will hear Councilmember Joe LaCava’s Community Planning Group (CPG) reform proposal on January 20.

Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

Upcoming Hearings

  • The County Planning Commission will meet on January 7.
  • The San Diego City Council will meet on January 10 and January 11.
  • Mayor Todd Gloria’s State of the City Address will be held virtually  this year on January 12.
  • The San Diego City Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee will meet on January 12.
  • The County Board of Supervisors will meet on January 11 and January 12.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The California Competes Grant guidelines for FY 2021-22 have now been posted and $120 million is available. More information can be found here in the coming weeks. Applications must be submitted by January 24.
  • The CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund provides assistance for eligible expenses to businesses in the City of San Diego and City of Chula VIsta impacted by the pandemic.
  • The California Rebuilding Fund is offering small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees loans up to $100,000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The County’s Small Business Stimulus Grant Program is accepting additional applications. Eligible
  • businesses must have fewer than 100 full-time employees and are following sectors (restaurant, gym fitness center, yoga studio, movie theater, museum, zoo, or aquarium) that were impacted by moving from the Red to Purple Tier OR part of the event industry. Learn more and apply here.
  • 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.