The Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon voted to allow restaurants to open for dine-in and retail shops for in-store shopping. It was all part of a 4-1 vote by the supervisors (with Nathan Fletcher voting no.)
The board also voted to send a proposed pilot program to Governor Gavin Newsom telling him that San Diego County is ready to open salons, fitness facilities, outdoor religious services and modified youth sports.
Technically what that meant is that the board approved the Attestation Plan & Pilot Program and it is the assertion of the Board and County that the County of San Diego has met the Governor’s criteria.
If the plan is approved—which some hope could be this week, County and city restaurants could begin serving residents. Editor’s note: At presstime Wednesday night we learned that Governor Newsom had indeed approved the San Diego plan, so it takes effect this week.
The vote came after four hours of public testimony, and then about an hour of comments by the supervisors.
Third District Supervisor Kristin Gaspar (who represents Escondido) hailed the vote and added, “WE HEARD YOU SAN DIEGO! Your tireless advocacy resulted in a 4-1 vote today (Fletcher opposed) to send an accelerated re-open plan to the Governor. Thank you for your sacrifices, patience, and collaboration as we worked through protocols and plans together to safely re-open restaurants, salons, religious services, and youth sports. I am optimistic that this safe plan will meet the Governor’s approval.”
Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara told The Times-Advocate: “We are very excited to see a new round of businesses be open, and hope the State agrees with the County action. We as a city will do everything we can to help and support the businesses follow the protocols. The ordinances we will adopt tonight are an important part of that—give more space, more leeway to advertise, etc. especially our downtown and Grand Avenue particularly. We encourage everyone to follow good health practices, such as social distancing, hand washing, face coverings, so that this next phase WORKS and we can continue FORWARD progress.”
If the Governor approves the County’s plan that would move San Diego further into Stage 2 of the California Resiliency Roadmap in the coming days.
Under the proposal, in-person dining at restaurants and retail shopping would be allowed, as long as businesses enact social distancing measures and follow various restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Based on the current readiness criteria, San Diego County is ready to move to the Accelerated Stage 2 of the state’s plan,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, the County public health officer, in a press release from the County., “The County has made great progress in the fight against COVID-19 and it is now safe for certain businesses to resume operations if they can implement safety measures outlined by the County and State.”
The board also approved proposing a pilot program that would allow a select number of businesses from Stage 3 to gradually reopen ahead of the schedule outlined by the state.
The pilot program includes outdoor religious services, research labs, hair and nail salons, fitness facilities, youth sports and clubs and pools at apartment complexes. The pilot program would also allow therapeutic and peer support groups to offer sessions, but with group size limited to 12 people or fewer.
The California Department of Public Health and the Governor’s Office also will have to approve the County’s pilot program proposals before businesses from these sectors can begin to reopen.
Senator Brian Jones of the 38th District, who represents much of North County, commented on the vote. “It is time to get back to work, to stop being afraid and start living life as it was meant to be lived,” he said. “I commend the majority of the members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for their vote this afternoon to speed up the reopening of our county.”
Jones added, “The last eight weeks have taken a devastating toll on small businesses, their workers and families throughout the region. Our battle for control of our own lives is not yet over but at least it’s a start.”
In a related development, Supervisor Gaspar has crafted a protocol that would allow children to return to practice fields and gyms as quickly and safely as possible.
The initiative called “Game on San Diego” includes input from hundreds of youth sports leaders from around the county. The Supervisor, a mother of three and youth coach, told The Times-Advocate: “Our kids desperately need this outlet for the physical, emotional and character-building benefits that organized sports provide. It’s time to get our kids moving again.”
Gaspar’s plan will be included in the proposed “acceleration plan” that will be presented at the May 19 Board of Supervisors meeting. If adopted, it would position San Diego County with the most comprehensive youth sports safety plan in all Southern California, said Gaspar’s office.