SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — On Tuesday, the state will release the latest coronavirus numbers for San Diego County.
Those anticipated new numbers could signal whether San Diego is on the 14-day path to reverting from its current "red tier" to the far more restrictive "purple tier," which would deal a significant blow to businesses now struggling to survive.
One of those businesses is Grandma Tofu in Kearny Mesa. Its owner, second-generation Korean-American Grace Chi, learned she will likely receive a $5,000 grant to help her family's small business stay afloat through the federal CARES Act.
The money is part of $14.5 million dollars in federal business relief grants to be administered through the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, which will vote to approve the funding on Tuesday morning.
"My heart goes out to folks," said District 4 Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, whose office is distributing $2.5 million of the funds.
He said his office is prioritizing small, often family-run businesses in allocating funds.
"The type of folks who do not have lobbyists," Fletcher added. "They didn't get any federal PPP money. They are often kind of unseen or forgotten."
Also at Tuesday's board of supervisors meeting, Supervisor Jim Desmond said he will be taking a stand.
Through social media Monday, Desmond stated he plans to make a motion for San Diego businesses to flout the current capacity restrictions on businesses, now at 25% for restaurants, and reopen without enforcing the state rules.
"Time to get mad folks. Time to get energized," Desmond said. "This is the time, folks, to call in, let us hear your frustrations."
While Desmond is pushing for reopening businesses, there remains the real possibility that San Diego County could "start the clock" beginning Tuesday in slipping from its current level-two, or "red" tier to the most restrictive level-one "purple" tier.
While San Diego's current testing positivity rate stands at 4.2, which could qualify us for the "moderate" level three or "orange" tier, because the county's case rate per 100,000 stands at 6.9, San Diego is on the verge of reverting to level one, or "purple.'
"(This) means if we go up .1%, that's seven. That would begin the clock on that higher tier," Fletcher said last week. "And that is a situation that we want to avoid."
If that is the case after two full weeks, the county would plunge into the purple tier. Under that scenario, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters could find their indoor service taken away, while barbershops and salons could stay open for customers with modifications.
As for schools that have reopened under the red tier, under purple, they could still remain open but would have to increase COVID-19 testing for staff.
Supervisor Fletcher responded to Supervisor Desmond's social media comments calling them in part "reckless."