Written by Julianne Foster
“Just as San Diego led in the California pandemic response, San Diego is prepared to lead out of this public health crisis,” said San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom. She expressed pride in how successful San Diego businesses have been in terms of complying with CDC and state safety guidelines.
Their work is starting to be rewarded as San Diego County moves into an accelerated version of phase two reopening. This was all made possible through the tireless efforts of local leaders and Newsom’s decision to finally permit in-store retail shopping and restaurant dine-in experiences.
Restaurants are proving to take this opportunity seriously. In one such case, the Little Italy Association has requested approval to block off certain streets to offer dining on the sidewalks, with the open streets giving them more room for people to socially distance while eating or waiting to be seated.
Desmond’s words were reaffirmed by Gov. Newsom, as hospitalizations and ICU patient numbers have consistently declined.
San Diego was one of many counties to file the attestation form and be approved after determining that their plan was meeting new state metrics for advancement.
Supervisor Gaspar has been pushing to loosen restrictions on reopening businesses. In a letter to Gov. Newsom, she was outspoken about the unreasonable standards enforced on businesses looking to reopen. Her voice and many others led to the reforming of guidelines, going from requiring zero deaths and under 25 cases per day for a 14-day period to requiring no more than 25 cases per 100,000 people for a 14-day period. Supervisors Gaspar and Desmond led the Board of Supervisors’ 4-1 vote to send the accelerated reopening plan to Gov. Newsom. The lone opposing vote came from Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
Businesses will have to make modifications in order to officially reopen. According to San Diego County, restaurants have new required regulations, and to further ensure safety, the state has also posted a guide for dine-in restaurants to follow and a checklist to post in their restaurants for customers to view. Although restaurants are being allowed to reopen, hospitality services such as bars, wineries, tasting rooms, and lounges are not. Similar to restaurants, retail store owners have been given a form to fill out and post for customers to see, and there’s a guide available for reference on how to maintain a safe environment.
These are positive steps for San Diego County as the economy begins to open up to allow people to earn an income and return to the lives they had before the pandemic chaos ensued. The Board of Supervisors has sent Gov. Newsom a pilot plan for entering phase three, which focuses on opening outdoor religious services, research labs, hair and nail salons, fitness facilities, youth sports and clubs, and pools at apartment complexes.