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San Diego leaders talk reopening strategy in the 'Back in Business' Coalition meeting

The focus of the talk was on economic recovery and strategy as developers talked about what the next phase of reopening businesses would look like.

SAN DIEGO — Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Wednesday joined other San Diego leaders for the first "Back in Business" coalition meeting.

“Really pleased to welcome everyone to this virtual convening to kick off our back in business efforts. San Diego's economy will recover," said Jerry Sanders, President & CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber.

Joining with top local leaders to strategize the best ways businesses will reopen in San Diego County, the coalition delved into viable solutions for recovery.

“Looking not just at the short term but long term, how we can continue to be leaders in San Diego for policies locally and statewide for reopening up?” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

The Zoom meet-up looked into the numbers, and how massive job loss has drastically impacted San Diego’s economy.

“This has hit everyone, but it has not hit everyone equally, our tourism industry and all those who thrive off tourism have been impacted greatly,” said Mark Cafferty, CEO, San Diego Regional EDC.

Local tourism or lack thereof is a topic that the business leaders harped on saying it is taking a huge hit during the coronavirus pandemic.

“One in eight employees were employed in tourism prior to the pandemic and from what you see, it certainly has been the hardest hit sector so far,” said Kerri Kapich, COO, San Diego Tourism Authority.

Laying out the state of our current economy, USD Economics Professor Dr. Ryan Ratcliff showed charts of his “Thoughts on Crisis and Resiliency in San Diego” presentation.

“What we've seen is something that is about twice as bad as the Great Recession in one month rather than bad of two years," said Ryan Ratcliff, Associate Professor of Economics, USD School of Business.

Another chart titled, "What to Expect in SD?," showed U.S. job losses suggest San Diego high tech and department of defense will see smaller losses while the downturn could be to be catastrophic for the leisure, tourism and allied industries.

Ratcliff said a “45% decline in employment in that sector in one month again is just hard for me to wrap my head around.”

William Eggers, Managing Director, Deloitte Center for Government Insights provided consumer attitudes by statistics, which listed a host of concerns, including 66% of Americans fear stay-at-home restrictions are being lifted too soon.

All agreed businesses can reopen safely, so looking ahead Ratcliff said "state and local government is going to have a really rough time over the next year or two here."

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