Public health crisis.
The world has changed in unimaginable ways since the disastrous arrival of COVID-19.
We are awash in a mix of uncertainty and concern as each day seems to deliver a new understanding of the many effects of the virus. There are the little things like not being able to see family and friends. And then there are the much more serious and frightening realities of losing a job or having loved ones contract the virus. Above all, COVID-19 is a health disaster that has tragically ripped thousands of people from family and friends, and continues to inflict pain on hundreds of thousands more.
COVID-19 has been devastating to small businesses and small nonprofits, too. The impacted businesses and organizations are not just sources of revenue; they are often the realization of big dreams and the product of incredibly hard work. For many, those dreams are being jeopardized by the tsunami-like ripple effect of this public health crisis. This is especially true for newer businesses that were just getting off the ground right before the outbreak. Our COVID-19 plan is built upon 4 main principles:
While we can hope for the best, we must plan for the worst and be ready if there are more rounds of strict lockdowns. Businesses should not be unnecessarily left to wait for government action when the events of the past months have already shown us much of what is needed:
Automatic triggers for business support, such as grants and loans, if and when lockdowns resume
Automatic triggers for policy adaptations, such as outdoor dining, if and when indoor dining is prohibited
The City must lock arms with the business community to mitigate the impact of closures and the related economic slowdown:
Support businesses and nonprofits by providing no-interest forgivable loans for personal protective equipment for employees and adaptive equipment to maximize safety and economic opportunity
Professional support for businesses and nonprofits, especially smaller businesses to apply for state and federal support
A full reopening will not mean a full return to “normal” business conditions. The City should lend a hand to San Diego businesses during the transition back.
Work with the business community to create recovery plan, which should include the extension of support into the initial weeks of reopening and dignified exit opportunities for businesses that no longer see their models as viable
New business models are emerging, workspaces are being redefined, and new, more efficient models are being discovered for permitting. The lessons learned during COVID-19 can and should propel San Diego into a brighter future.
Support, incentives, and eased permitting for businesses that choose to remain remote and commercial landlords interested in converting office space into residential spaces
Eased permitting for experimental and permanent outdoor dining, drinking, and shopping
Ongoing collaboration with the business community to identify additional opportunities for innovation, growth, and prosperity