SAN DIEGO — If you go to any neighborhood in San Diego County, you'll find several businesses still closed due to the pandemic. Local leaders want to ensure those businesses have the financial help they need. They also want to figure out a way to get them back open, sooner rather than later.
One county leader set up a questionnaire asking businesses what they’re willing to do to open back up. Stores, bars, and restaurants have been closed for weeks, with no known date to reopen.
“People are struggling," said San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond. "Rent is going to be due here the first of May and mortgage payments, and there [are] a lot of businesses that are devastated."
Desmond said he hopes that will change. After getting feedback from business owners, he set up that questionnaire. Desmond asked business owners what they're willing to do in order to reopen. These ideas included requiring customers to wear masks, taking people's temperatures, and limiting hours if needed.
So far, 400 people have responded.
On Tuesday, Desmond will take that information to the board in hopes they'll share it with public health officials, and ultimately send a recommendation to Governor Newsom.
"Businesses have come up with different ideas of how they are willing to operate and willing to operate safely, and I think that's where we got to get the new mindset - not what's essential, but what's safe," said Desmond.
It will be up to Newsom to decide.
As businesses wait, they need money to stay afloat. Also at Tuesday's board meeting, Desmond and Supervisor Dianne Jacob will ask members to approve $5 million in loans for small businesses in the county's local unincorporated areas.
In terms of what help is available now, Assemblymember Todd Gloria hosted a webinar Monday with the San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center to go over both state and federal assistance programs. 450 people took part.
Here are some key takeaways from that information:
-the state has delayed the payment of sales taxes up to $50,000 for a year
-the tax filing deadline has been pushed to July 15
-the state is offering $50 million in loan guarantees for businesses that aren't eligible for federal relief
In addition, Congress is working to add more funding to the Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money last week.