Business and Labor

DEFAULTED BILLS MAILED TO OVER 28K PROPERTY TAXPAYERS, BUT PENALTIES MAY BE WAIVED FOR THOSE IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Source: San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector

August 17, 2020 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister announced on Aug. 11 that his office is offering penalty relief for small business owners and homeowners who are among those receiving more than 28,000 defaulted bills. 

“We know many of the late bills are due to COVID-19, and we want our taxpayers to know there could be relief,” said McAllister. “They may qualify to have their penalties waived if they file for a COVID-19 cancellation request. Our customers must provide documentation as evidence to show how the pandemic impacted their ability to pay their second installment by April 10.”


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MOST JULIAN BUSINESSES ARE OPEN FOR VISITORS, BUT JULIAN CARRIAGE COMPANY FALLS VICTIM TO PANDEMIC

 

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

August 13, 2020 (Julian) – Tourists are returning to Julian, the historic gold-mining town nestled in the mountains of San Diego's East County.  According to Robin Boland at the Julian Chamber of Commerce, nearly all businesses that are allowed to be open under state and county health mandates are now open, including shops, outdoor and takeout restaurants, breweries and wineries serving food. Though a few have limited hours, Boland assures, “There is still plenty to do and plenty of places to eat.”

One long-time town fixture, however, has fallen victim to the pandemic. Julian Carriage Company posted on Facebook July 31, "I'm sorry to hhave to inform you that due to COVID-19 and other extenuating circumstances we are no longer in business. Brett and I will sure miss everyone that came to Julian and rode our carriage. Life has taken us on another journey now and we are no longer in Julian. We love all of you!!!!!!! Thank you for an amazing 7 years!!!!!!! I will never forget this chapter of our lives."


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LA MESA COUNCIL WEIGHS CARE ACT RELIEF FOR BUSINESSES AND RENTERS, PLUS POSSIBLE SALE OF PARKING LOT NEAR RESTAURANTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Some businesses have been hard hit by both the pandemic shutdowns and business disruptions from looting, fires and vandalism

August 10, 2020 (La Mesa) -- On Tuesday, August 11, the La Mesa City Council will consider topics of major public interest at a 5 p.m. closed session followed by a 6 p.m. public meeting. 

At the closed session, for which the public can email comments by 4 p.m., includes potential sale of a public parking lot with meters behind the burned Randall Lamb building and behind many restaurants and businesses on La Mesa Blvd.  

Also on the closed session, council will hear details of housing planned for the former police station site being leased for development, including affordable housing units.  

At 6 p.m., Council will consider how to spend CARES Act relief funds due to the pandemic.  Staff has proposed renter relief as well as grants for small businesses and city costs. The Council majority previously voted against aid to businesses, so Councilman Kristine Alessio is urging the public to speak out if they want to see help provided for struggling small businesses in La Mesa, as other East County cities have already provided.

Below are details.


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VIRTUAL COUNTY BUDGET HEARINGS BEGIN MONDAY

The recommended budget plan is part of a two-year operational plan that will help determine how the County spends its resources.

Following Monday’s budget hearing, an evening hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Budget deliberations and formal adoption of the first year of the budget plan are scheduled for 2 p.m. on Aug. 25.


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FEDERAL LOANS AVAILABLE TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY CIVIL UNREST

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 31, 2020 (San Diego) -- Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to help small businesses across San Diego County that were affected by civil unrest which began May 26, 2020, if they do not have the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

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BUSINESSES MUST DISCLOSE COVID-19 OUTBREAKS TO WORKERS, BUT NO LONGER HAVE TO TEST MOST RETURNING EMPLOYEES

By Miriam Raftery

July 31, 2020 (San Diego) – Employers across San Diego County must now disclose to all employees if an outbreak of COVID 19, defined as three or more cases within 14 days, occurs at the workplace. The mandate was issued by Dr. Wilma Wooten, the County’s public health officer, NBC 7 reports.


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TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WORKS TO GUT PAYDAY-LENDING SAFEGUARD

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

July 24, 2020 (Washington D.C.) --  The Trump administration released a proposal this week that would make it easier for banks and payday lenders to charge sky high interest rates - despite California laws against predatory lending.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency wants to overturn the "true lender" doctrine and allow payday lenders to evade state interest-rate caps by listing a bank as the lender.

Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center, says this will bring back rent-a-bank schemes and allow companies such as OppLoans and Loan Mart to charge 100% or even 200% in interest.

"It's outrageous at this time of economic crisis that the Trump administration, in action after action, is siding with predatory lenders charging outrageous interest rates that just push people into debt and make it harder and harder for them to feed their family," says Saunders.


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SIGNS OF THE TIMES: TWO DOWNTOWN EL CAJON BUSINESSES CLOSE

By Robert Gehr

Photography: Robert Gehr

July 23, 2020 (El Cajon) -- On my walk this morning, I noticed two businesses in downtown El Cajon closed and nearly emptied of furnishings.  Both Rock a Betties Beauty Salon and Thrill Seekers have closed these locations, with rent signs in the windows.

Thrill Seekers, a retail establishment at 164 East Main Street, still has a website. A second location at 1421 Woodside Ave. Suite C, Santee remains open for customers. The owner of Thrill Seekers told ECM's editor that relocating to Santee was not related to the pandemic and that his business is "doing just fine."

State and county mandated closures due to the COVID-19 epidemic may have played a role in the permanent loss of Rock A Betties Beauty Salon at 158 E. Main St. El Cajon, a long-time fixture in the community. The shop has has taken its website down and the phone is disconnected.


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CALIFORNIA TO HOLD DELAYED BAR EXAM ONLINE, LOWER SCORE FOR PASSAGE, AND ISSUE PROVISIONAL LICENSURE PROGRAM

By Miriam Raftery

July 23, 2020 (San Diego) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time, the California Bar Association will be conducting the California Bar Exam online. The test required for licensing attorneys will be postponed from September 9-10 until October 5-6. The deadline to register is tomorrow, July 24.


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HOTEL INDUSTRY REQUIRES MASKS ACROSS U.S., RELEASES TOP 5 TRAVEL SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

Face coverings, physical distancing to be standardized at hotels nationwide

 

Source: American Hotel & Lodging Association

 

Photo:  CC-ND via Bing

 

July 20, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today released the “Safe Stay Guest Checklist” for guests on how to travel safely, also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide. This checklist is part of AHLA’s Safe Stay guidelines --an industry-wide, enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees. 


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AFTER ECM INQUIRY, COUNTY REVISES FLAWED RELIEF PLAN FOR RESTAURANTS, SMALL BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS DUE TO COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery

Update July 13, 2020: The County has changed these rules as a direct result of East County Magazine's investigation, after our editor made inquiries to Supervisor Dianne Jacob's staff and alerted La Mesa Chamber of Commerce President Mary England, who immediately made calls as well.

A business license is no longer required of businesses in unincorporated areas. Proof of employees is no longer required for all-volunteer nonprofits.

July 10, 2020 (San Diego)-- Local small businesses, restaurants and nonprofits suffering financial losses due to COVID-19 can now apply for a grant from the County of San Diego. Supervisors approved the new Small Business Stimulus Program  on July 7, which will be funded with $17 million in federal CARES Act funding. 

However, East County Magazine has alerted Supervisor Dianne Jacob that documents required in the application will preclude most businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county from applying, as well as nonprofits that are volunteer run.

The applicaton requires that a business license be attached. However, the county no longer issues business licenses to businesses in the unincorporated areas, so only businesses with a license in an incorporated city can apply. A spokesperson for Supervisor Dianne Jacob has told ECM that in response to our inquiry, the County is considering eliminating that requirement, but as of last night, the application still required a business license.

The application also requries multiple documents to prove employment and payroll deductions, which nonprofits that rely only on volunteers do not have. Yet these nonprofits have lost significant revenues due to being unable to host fundraising events and donations down due to the pandemic, limiting their ability to fund needed programs and services. The application also requires complex monthly accounting documentation that some small nonprofits may lack.

Businesses and nonprofits able to qualify are urged to apply early.  Applications will be accepted through October 16, provided funds are still available. See below for details.


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POWAY MAYOR VAUS PROPOSES PLAN TO LET FITNESS ACTIVITIES AND WORSHIP SERVICES USE PARKS DURING COVID-SHUTDOWN

 

Update July 15, 2020: The Poway City Council today unanimously approved this plan.

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2020 (Poway) –  Poway Mayor Steve Vaus has proposed a “Sharing Outdoor Spaces” plan to “allow local fitness biz & houses of worship to use areas in our parks until indoor restrictions lifted.” Vaus announced the plan on Twitter, which the Poway City Council will vote on tomorrow during an 11:15 a.m. meeting. View agenda.

The action comes after the state on Monday issued a order required all houses of worship, gyms, yoga, dance and other fitness organizations to cease all indoor activities until further notice in order to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19.

“Similar to how we recently assisted Poway restaurants by providing picnic tables, I propose we help houses of worship and fitness-oriented businesses (yoga, Pilates, dance class, gyms, etc.) by providing space for their activities in our parks,” the Mayor’s proposal states, noting that the state has not banned such activities from taking place outdoors. Outdoor activities are considered less risky by health officials since the virus dissipates more quickly in sunshine and since people are not breathing recirculated air.


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EL CAJON STARTS SMALL BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM, ALLOWS BUSINESSES SUCH AS BARBERS, SALONS AND RETAILERS TO MOVE OUTDOORS

City also weighs possibility of allowing city parks, such as Prescott Promenade (photo) downtown, to be used for outdoor faith services and business operations

By Kendra Sitton

July 14, 2020 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon City Council today unanimously approved a plan to allocate almost $2.5 million for a Business Grant Program benefitting primarily nonessential businesses forced to close during the pandemic.

The city also took action to help many businesses and activities move outdoors, after the state shut down many indoor operations due to a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.


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LEMON AID: LEMON GROVE APPROVES CARES ACT FUNDING TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES AND RECOUP COVID-19 COSTS TO CITY

Council also votes to place cannabis tax on ballot

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 14, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – By a unanimous vote, Lemon Grove’s City Council on July 7 approved a staff proposal for allocation of federal CARES Act funding. The city will receive $480,774 through the county and another $334,243 through the state. The lion’s share will be spent to help small businesses. A substantial portion will also offset city costs related to COVID-19, while a small sliver of the funds will be spent on homeless services.

 


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GOVERNOR ORDERS SHUTDOWNS OF MANY INDOOR BUSINESSES, CHURCHES AND MORE AS AVAILABIITY OF ICU BEDS DROPS

 

Indoor worship services, protests, gyms, malls, personal care services and non-essential offices must close

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 13, 2020 (Sacramento) – With only 36 percent of the ICU beds in the state available as COVID-19 cases surge statewide, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced broad new shutdowns. 

Counties that have been on the state’s monitoring list for three consecutive days, including San Diego and all Southern California counties, must shut down the following industries and activities (unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up):

  • Fitness centers
  • Worship services
  • Protests
  • Offices for non-essential sectors
  • Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Malls

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LA MESA AUTHORIZES RESTAURANTS TO SET UP OUTDOOR DINING AREAS

By Miriam Raftery

File photo, taken prior to the pandemic: Curbside, one of La Mesa's newest eateries, was designed for only limited outside seating. The new executive order could enable restaurants such as Curbside to expand onto sidewalks or streets, with permission of the City Manager and adherance to other laws.

July 9, 2020 (La Mesa)  -- The La Mesa City Manager today issued an executive order under emergency powers granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order temporarily allows use of public and private outdoor areas by eating establishments for dining, after county health officials banned indoor dining for three weeks starting July 6 due to a growing number of coronavirus cases including some tied to restaurants and bars.

Restaurants must obtain written authorization from the Director of Community Development and comply with all social distancing and other COVID-19 related health orders, as well as all other laws. This includes city and county emergency orders, state laws such as Alcoholic Beverage Control rules, and federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Per the executive order, there is no City fee charged or permit required for businesses that receive authorization to use public and private outdoor areas for dining.  Businesses interested in obtaining written authorization for temporary use of public and private outdoor areas should contact Allyson Kinnard, Senior Planner at akinnard@cityoflamesa.us.


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INDOOR DINING AND THESE OTHER BUSINESSES MUST SHUT DOWN FOR THREE WEEKS STARTING TONIGHT

 

Congressional candidate calls for new round of relief for businesses ordered to shut down again

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dr. Wilma Wooten briefing (screenshot from video)

July 6, 2020 (San Diego) – Starting at midnight, all indoor service must stop in restaurants and wineries. Outdoor dining and activities can continue, as well as curbside pickup services.

Indoor family entertainment venues such as movie theaters and bowling alleys also must shut down, though outdoor facilities such as zoos can remain open.  The order is in effect for the next three weeks.

County health officials ordered the closures today in response to being placed on the state’s watchlist due to exceeding three COVID-19 pandemic trigger levels for positive cases in the past two weeks, the number of active community outbreaks, and a backlog in tracing new cases.


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COUNTY TO BE PLACED ON WATCHLIST DUE TO RISING COVID CASES; IMPACTED BUSINESSES SHOULD PREPARE FOR SHUTDOWNS

 

Photo: County employee Esma Al Sabag is doing contact tracing in English and Arabic.

 By Jose A. Alvarez, County Communications Office

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- A record number of COVID-19 cases were reported today, and the state has notified the County it will be placed on its Monitoring List July 3, which is expected to result in the County closing or placing new restrictions on additional businesses next week.


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FIRST ROUND OF RELIEF FUNDS DISTRIBUTED TO 27 LA MESA BUSINESSES DAMAGED DURING CIVIL UNREST

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Don Buxton, owner of Play It Again Sports, accepts La Mesa Disaster Recovery Fund relief check. His store suffered looting, fire and smoke damage.

July 1, 2020 (La Mesa) – Relief checks of $5,000 each from the La Mesa Disaster Recovery Fund were distributed to 27 business owners on Tuesday, in the first of two rounds of funding.  


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SURVIVING ON THE EDGE: A LOCAL MUSIC COMPANY AND COMMUNITY NONPROFIT FIND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS IN A COVID-19 WORLD

Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson

 

By Helen Horvath

 

Photo:  Dr. Leonard Thompson, CEO and Michelle Thompson, Sr. Vice President, M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records

 

June 29, 2020 (San Diego) -- In this first of a two-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson III, CEO of M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records and Communications Director of the NAACP San Diego, Dr. Horvath and ECM discuss COVID-19’s impact upon his business and the mission of the NAACP. 

 

M.A.N.D.A.T.E’s acronym means “Making A Necessary Difference at the End.”


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CA AND OTHER STATES ORDER BARS CLOSED IN SOME AREAS; SAN DIEGO CRACKS DOWN ON VIOLATORS AS COVID-19 CASES RISE

Imperial County put back on full lockdown as positive test rates soar to 23%

By Miriam Raftery

June 28, 2020 (San Diego) – Across the U.S., states and counties that reopened broad sectors of their economies are rolling back some business re-openings as COVID-19 cases spike. On Friday, the governors of Florida, Texas, and California all ordered total or partial shutdowns of bars in efforts to slow the spread. 

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has ordered bars in six counties to shut down and recommends that bars be closed in eight additional counties.

So far, San Diego is not on either of those lists and bars remain open, though that may change as the county's rate of hospitalizations from COVID-19 climbs.


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JONES' MEASURE REDUCING LICENSING BURDENS ON CALIFORNIANS PASSED BY SENATE

East County News Service

 

June 25, 2020 (Sacramento) -- A measure by State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) to reduce the licensing burden on working Californians was unanimously approved by the Senate yesterday.


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DESPITE LOSING BUILDING TO ARSON, RANDALL LAMB ASSOCIATES JOINS EFFORT TO HELP OTHER BUSINESSES DAMAGED DURING RIOT

The Phair Company and Lions Club of La Mesa also make major contributions

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Jake Rose: Flames engulf Randall Lamb Associates building

June 24, 2020 (La Mesa) – Among the many local companies stepping forward with donations to help businesses damaged by looting, vandalism or arson on May 30-31, one name stands out. The Randall Lamb Associates’  building burned to the ground, yet its owners have generously given $5,000 to help others rebuild their businesses and their lives.


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NAIL SALONS, TATTOO PARLORS AND OTHER CLOSE-CONTACT BUSINESSES TO REOPEN

By Miriam Raftery

June 18, 2020 (San Diego) – The state has approved more businesses reopening in San Diego County as early as Friday, June 19th, including personal care businesses offering services such as manicures, facials, massages and tattoos.

 

Business owners must follow state guidelines and complete the County’s Safe Reopening Plan.


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JULIAN WELCOMES VISITORS BACK



By Bobbi Zane

June 18, 2020 (Julian) --Julian shop and restaurant owners are now back open to serve visitors, though the rules have changed in the historic gold rush town located in San Diego's back country.

"Visitors no longer need to stay at home,” says Robin Boland, manager of the Julian Chamber of Commerce. During the COVID-19 shutdown, the Chamber had earlier asked visitors to stay away to prevent brining the virus to the mountain town which customarily thrives on tourism.

Restaurants and one-of-a-kind charming shops have lined both sides of Main Street for many years. Julian is also known for excellent restaurants, though Julian is most faous for its apple pies, known as the new gold that draws visitors to Mom's Pie House and Julian Apple Pies.


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NEW SANDAG REPORT FINDS BLACKS AND HISPANIC COMMUNITIES HARDEST HIT BY HEALTH AND ECONOMIC CRISIS

Source: SANDAG

June 17, 2020 (San Diego) -- As the San Diego region’s labor market continues to experience an historic decline, Black and Hispanic communities are most impacted, according to a new SANDAG Data Science and Analytics report, “COVID-19 Impact on the San Diego Regional Economy: Black and Hispanic Communities Hardest Hit.”


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SYCUAN SUPPORTS LA MESA BUSINESS COMMUNITY WITH $5,000 DONATION

East County News Service
 
Photo courtesy of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce
 
June 16, 2020 (La Mesa) — The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation has donated $5,000 to help La Mesa businesses impacted by civil unrest the night of May 30th.  

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LA MESA DISASTER RECOVERY FUND REGISTRATION PROCESS NOW OPEN FOR AFFECTED BUSINESSES

East County News Service

A convenient online registration process is now available for La Mesa businesses damaged during civil unrest overnight on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31 to receive money from the La Mesa Disaster Recovery Fund.

The East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC) is supporting the effort initiated through the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and La Mesa Chamber of Commerce. It will receive and manage the applications on its website.

“We had one single objective at this stage of this process: making registration and documentation as easy and quick as possible,” said Jo-Marie Diamond, President and CEO of the East County Economic Development Council.  

Businesses can register through an online form on the East County Economic Development Council website. Applicants able to complete their registration by Friday, June 26 and have it verified will be part of the Phase I distribution.


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'HUGE VICTORY FOR LGBTQ EQUALITY' AS US SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS WORKPLACE PROTECTIONS

"The court has caught up to the majority of our country, which already knows that discriminating against LGBTQ people is both unfair and against the law."—James Esseks, ACLU

By Julia Conley, Common Dreams (republished under a Creative Commons license)

June 15, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Labor and LGBTQ rights advocates celebrated Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or identity is prohibited under long-standing federal law.


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NONPROFIT MAIN STREET RELIEF REACHES 100 VOLUNTEERS HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES

Source: Main Street Relief

June 13, 2020 ISan Diego) – More than 100 people from across the country have joined nonprofit Main Street Relief’s volunteer network and its mission of helping small businesses respond to and recover from COVID-19. Volunteers have helped small business owners with federal funding programs, rent renegotiations and deferrals, strategic and financial planning, creative new revenue streams, and more. 


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