Business and Labor

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

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: 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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LA MESA BUSINESSES FILE DAMAGE CLAIMS AFTER RIOT; ATTORNEY HAS TIPS ON LOSS CLAIMS DUE TO RIOTING OR PANDEMIC

GoFundMe Site raises over $200,000 to help local businesses

By Mike Allen

Photos by Henri Magala

June 12, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Steve Clay first got wind that his family’s package mail business, The Postal Annex, was being looted from an app he has on his phone.


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CALIFORNIA COAST CREDIT UNION DONATES $5,000 TO LA MESA BUSINESS RECOVERY EFFORTS

Source:  Cal Coast Credit Union

June 10, 2020 (La Mesa) -- California Coast Credit Union is donating $5,000 to the La Mesa Business Disaster Recovery Fund, helping drive total donations to the cause to more than $140,000. 

 


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REBUILD LA MESA: GO FUND ME ACCOUNT RAISES MORE THAN $160,000

 

Update June 18, 2020:  The fund has now raised over $196,000 and has begun distributing funds, but donations are still needed.

By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2020 (La Mesa) – After riots devastated downtown La Mesa on May 30th, El Cajon Deputy Mayor Phil Ortiz teamed up with the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce Foundation and others to establish the La Mesa Business Disaster Recovery Fund.  The fund raised $50,000 in its first 13 hours last Sunday and has now surpassed $168,000 from more than 2,000 donors.

You can make a 100% tax deductible donation on GoFundMe by clicking here. 

The site states, “Our small businesses are devastated and many were already on the brink due to COVID19. La Mesa Village has been the heart of small business in the city and is a beautiful place for dining, events and memories.”


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AFTER BURNING, BANKS’ SERVICE IMPACTED BY BRANCH CLOSURES; UNION BANK PLEDGES TO REBUILD

 

By Kendra Sitton

Paul Kruze also contributed to this report

Photo, left by Jake Rose:  Chase bank collapses as arson fire engulfs downtown La Mesa branch

June 4, 2020 (La Mesa) -- “Crazy people burned down my bank!” a customer explained to the teller at a Chase branch on Grossmont Ave. early Monday, June 1.

Branches of Chase Bank and Union Bank were both burned to the ground after protests turned fiery late Saturday night. Despite riot police and other reinforcements from the San Diego Sheriff's department, La Mesa Police and Heartland Fire were overwhelmed as rioters overran the citywreaking havoc that slowed responses.


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BARONA RESORT AND CASINO TO REOPEN STARTING WEDNESDAY,MAY 27

By Miriam Raftery

May 26, 2020 (Lakeside) – Barona Resort & Casino is the latest tribal casino to  begin a phased reopening,  starting tomorrow. The casino and hotel, including some restaurants, will be open with reduced capacity and new sanitation requirements.


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UNEMPLOYMENT HITS 30.1% COUNTYWIDE; HIGH RATES IN SEVERAL EAST COUNTY COMMUNITIES

Nationwide, unemployment rate is 14.7% -- worse than during  the Great Depression -- and San Diego has double the national rate.

By Miriam Raftery

May 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – An Employment Analysis by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) shows unemployment countywide is at 30.1%, an all-time high.  Of the more than half million (510,000) unemployed residents, nearly 460,000 lost their jobs after the COVID-19 pandemic began March 7.

That’s far higher than the national average of 14.7% -- and with 39 million Americans out of work as of last week according to the Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate is now the highest it’s ever been, even worse than during the Great Depression.

 


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RESIDENTS, HEALTHCARE GROUPS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT TO RESTAURANT AND RETAIL REOPENINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: On Friday, Sheldon's Station in La Mesa prepared for reopening with new socially distanced tables. The owner told ECM  that despite offering curbside pickup, he's lost approximately 60% of his business since the shutdown began in mid-March and has not received any federal aid, for which he applied.

May 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On social media, East County residents shared reactions to decisions by state and county officials allowing restaurants to reopen for dine-in service and retailers to allow customers inside stores after a two-month closure due to the  COVID-19 pandemic.

While some voiced joy at savoring a meal out, other expressed trepidation.  Local healthcare officials, politicians and activists have also weighed in with their views on the easing up of restrictions.


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STATE APPROVES SAN DIEGO PLAN TO REOPEN DINE-IN RESTAURANTS AND IN-STORE RETAIL SHOPPING

County still awaits word on proposed pilot program to accelerate some stage 3 openings including salons, gyms, pools, outdoor worship and youth sports practices

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

May 20, 2020 (San Diego) – “Great news for restaurants and retailers! The state just approved our plan to allow dine-in service and in-person retail sales,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob announced moments ago on Facebook. These businesses now need to complete and post a safe reopening plan to comply with social distancing and other requirements. View: Guidelines for restaurants; guidelines for retailers.

On Tuesday, Supervisors approved two measures to accelerate reopening of the economy countywide. The first sent recommendations to the state to reopen our county’s restaurants and retailers within days. The Governor and California’s Dept. of Public Health approved those recommendations today. The measure does not include bars, breweries, distilleries or wineries.

The second measure passed by supervisors is still awaiting a decision by state officials. That measure calls for a pilot program that if approved, would allow San Diego County to move partially into stage 3 by reopening hair and nail salons, gym and fitness facilities, pools at apartment complexes, outdoor religious services, and research labs. In addition, youth sports could start up for practices only, no games, in groups of 12 or less. Therapeutic and peer support groups could also resume meeting in groups of up to 12 people.


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SUPERVISORS TO VOTE ON ACCELERATED REOPENING PLAN AFTER GOV. NEWSOM ANNOUNCES NEW GUIDELINES

By Miriam Raftery

May 19, 2020 (San Diego) – Today, San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors will vote on a plan to allow reopening of the local economy at an accelerated pace in conformance with new state rules, the county has announced. The action follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement yesterday of new state guidelines that will allow the vast majority of California counties to move quickly through phase two.

You can watch the meeting online or join via phone to view the discussion on reopening, which is item 5 on the agenda.

If the state approves San Diego’s plans, among the first businesses to benefit could be retailers allowed to have customers inside stores. Dining in at restaurants could also resume in the near future. Both would require social distancing, masks, health and sanitation plans submitted by each business. In addition, Governor Newsom has indicated that hair salons, church gatherings and professional sports without spectators could start up again as early as June.

The Governor estimates that 53 of 58 counties could meet the new criteria, aimed at allowing those areas with lower levels of COVID-19 and that meet certain requirements to reopen sooner than those with high levels.  Requirements include:


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BILL TO EXEMPT MANY WRITERS, VIDEOGRAPHERS AND MUSICIANS FROM AB 5 SET FOR HEARING MAY 20 IN SACRAMENTO

By Miriam Raftery

Update: This bill passed the Labor and Employment committee 7-0 and next heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

May 18, 2020 (San Diego) – A bill to provide relief for many freelance writers, videographers and musicians negatively impacted by California’s sweeping new labor law, Assembly Bill 5, has been introduced by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D- San Diego).  Assembly Bill 2257, a measure to exempt many in these occupations from requirements of AB 5, is slated for hearing May 20 in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.  Letters can be send to committee members at https://calegislation.lc.ca.gov/Advocates/.


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ADD LOCAL PARKS TO YOUR NEXT ZOOM VIDEO CONFERENCE

East County News Service
 
Photo: Seven Wild Bighorn Sheep, Credit: County of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, at Agua Caliente
 
May 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) --Infiltrate a herd of bighorn sheep. Hike to the half-way point of San Diego’s toughest climb. Peruse the grounds outside a cabin, nature center or historic adobe dwelling. Enjoy sunset over Lake Morena, stop to smell the lilacs in Sycamore Canyon, or graze alongside cows on the sprawling hillsides of Santa Ysabel.
 
All of these adventures are possible virtually, with a little creativity and perspective, thanks to San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department’s new collection of photo backgrounds designed especially for video conferencing sites.

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JAMUL CASINO TO BEGIN PHASED RE-OPENING ON MAY 18, 2020

Opening with enhanced cleaning protocols and technology after COVID-19 closure, casino also offers take-out dinners with phase-in of restaurants planned

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

May 15, 2020 (Jamul) -- After a two-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamul Casino today announced a phased-in reopening.  On May 18, a soft reopening at 10 a.m. is planned for its Sweetwater Rewards Club VIP guests (amber level and above), followed by a public reopening on May 20. Hours will be limited from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. until May 21, when 24-hour gaming operations are slated to resume.


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TWO MORE LOCAL CASINOS ANNOUNCE REOPENING PLANS, BUT COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER OPPOSES ACTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

File photo: Sycuan Casino

Updated May 14 with additional information from County Public Health Officer Wilima Wooten

May 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Following Viejas’ announced plans to reopen its casino on May 18, Sycuan and Valley View casinos have unveiled plans to reopen on May 19 and 21. All are on Native American reservations, and each has detailed plans for modifications aimed at protecting safety of the public and guests including face masks, sanitation procedures and social distancing.

However in a press conference today,  San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten voiced concerns and indicated that the county does not agree with the casinos’ reopening plans.  “If. they do open and ignore our request not to open, then we would definitely have to ensure that they put stringent practices in place to help protect the public health. But opening up casinos will cause a risk to our public health. That is very clear; it creates gatherings of individuals,” she stated.

Later she indicated the county has reached out to the federal government to potentially block the casinos from reopening, NPR reports. 

Tribal reservations are considered sovereign nations that make their own laws, however state and federal officials do have some powers to intervene if public health is at risk. It remains to be seen whether authorities will allow the casino openings to proceed, or take steps to require modifications or prevent openings.


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SPRING VALLEY STORAGE FACILITY OFFERS TWO MONTHS FREE STORAGE TO BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19 AND RESIDENTS WITH CHARITABLE DONATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

May 13, 2020 (Spring Valley) – With many businesses shuttered and charities not accepting donations, one family-owned business has decided to give back to help the community. 

A Storage Space has served our region for over 30 years. Now, the company is offering two months of free storage space at its newest location in Spring Valley near Rancho San Diego for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for individuals who need a place to store items for charitable donations until charities reopen.

“While we are certainly feeling the strain of the current situation, we are fortunate to remain open and in business. We know a number of the business in the community are struggling right now,” says owner Bryan Grissinger, who works with many essential businesses and other companies. “We want to help our neighbors in these uncertain times. If businesses need a secure place to store their belongings while in a time of transition, this is one way we can assist.” The offer also includes waiving move-in fees.


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STATE SETS GUIDELINES FOR RESTAURANTS TO REOPEN, ALLOWS DINE-IN SERVICE TO RESUME IN SOME COUNTIES WITH LOW RATES OF COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Anthony's Fish Grotto in La Mesa has reversed plans to close down, rehiring some employees after an outpouring of public support.  Owner Craig Ghio has expanded the take-out menu and hopes to survive--with social distancing--once the lakefront restaurant  with seafood market is allowed to reopen for dine-in customers.

May 13, 2020 (San Diego) – Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday released guidelines for restaurants in areas with low rates of COVID-19 to reopen their dining rooms, with changes to protect diners and staff.

But bars, brew pubs, wineries and craft distilleries must remain closed, unless they offer sit-down meals with any alcohol served.

Once the state allows a region’s restaurants to reopen, the County must also grant approval. Each restaurant must submit a COVID-19 prevention plan that includes requirements for cleaning and disinfecting, keeping six feet between tables, using disposable menus and partitionsa at cash registers and host stands. Windows and doors to outside should be kept open and patio seating can be expanded.


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SHOPPING MALLS CAN REOPEN FOR PICKUPS: OTHER BUSINESSES TO REOPEN INCLUDE CAR WASHES, PET GROOMERS, GARDENERS AND OFFICES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine is among the local malls eligible to reopen for curbside pickups.

May 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego County officials yesterday announced several more types of businesses that can reopen, with modifications, ranging from shopping centers to landscapers. All must prepare and post a safe reopening plan to protect employees and customers.

Shopping malls, including outlet malls and strip malls, can offer pickup service with clearly marked curbside outdoor pickup locations, but customers are not allowed inside stores.  In East County, malls eligible to begin offering curbside sales include Grossmont Center in La Mesa, Parkway Plaza in El Cajon, and the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine as well as smaller retail centers.

Other businesses allowed to reopen are car washes, pet grooming services, landscaping and gardening businesses, outdoor museums and offices, though telework is still strongly encouraged.


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LA MESA RETAILERS BEGIN TO REOPEN

 

 

By Miriam  Raftery

 

May 9, 2020 (La Mesa) – Just in time for Mother’s Day, some La Mesa retailers have reopened for curbside sales. Tiramisu Trattoria, a popular eatery closed for eight weeks, has reopened its doors for takeout orders. San Pasqual Winery is offering a health care worker, local restaurant and wine-to-go promo. Other businesses, not yet open, offered messages of encouragement for the community in storefront windows. 


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HIGH ROAD KITCHENS PROGRAM HELPS LOCAL RESTAURANTS PROVIDE FREE MEALS AND REHIRE LAID-OFF WORKERS

Region’s workforce experts equip local restaurants to feed essential workers and community members in need. Restaurant owners commit to increase wages and equity for employees over time, led by Ponce’s and Super Cocina.

 

Photo courtesy of High Road Kitchens

 

East County News Service

May 11, 2020 (San Diego) -- Governor Newsom’s administration on May 1st announced a program called High Road Kitchens, a statewide network of independent restaurants that provide food on a sliding scale to low-wage workers, health care workers, first responders and others in need.

Launched during the COVID-19 crisis, High Road Kitchens provides jobs for restaurant workers and a subsidy for responsible restaurant owners who commit to paying a living wage and following equitable employment practices across the state.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership and The San Diego Foundation are coordinating with local restaurants in the region – including Ponce's Mexican Restaurant and Super Cocina in conjunction with the One Fair Wage campaign – to fund the training, start-up costs and initial wages for workers rehired as part of this initiative.


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