Saturday, December 5, 2020
by: Craig Benedetto, Legislative Advocate

Section: COVID-19 Updates

The State of California has issued a new “stay at home” order that will likely impact most Counties in the State of California, including San Diego County.  At a press conference two days ago, Governor Newsom walked through the rationale and provisions of the new order, including the new metric for imposing the order on counties around the state.  The stated intent of yesterday’s order is to protect hospital capacity.
The metric for imposing these new restrictions on counties around the state is ICU capacity.  The ICU capacity threshold for the purpose of this new order has been set at 15% of ICU beds being available for COVID patients.  Rather than quantify capacity on a county by county basis, the state has created FIVE regions where counties are grouped.  It’s within those regions that the collective ICU capacity will be quantified and if the region falls below 15% of that capacity the new, more stringent restrictions will be imposed.  
There has been a question about how those regions were derived.  The Governor said yesterday, that they reflect some form of formal or informal shared hospital agreement between the counties in those regions where COVID overflow patients can presently be sent.  For the purposes of BOMA San Diego, San Diego County is lumped into the Southern California Region.  
For your information, here’s the state map with the regions identified:
Screen Shot 2020-12-04 at 9.35.18 AM.png
As of late last night, the SoCal Region’s ICU capacity is NOW BELOW the 15% ICU threshold at 13.1%.  Here is the actual ICU capacity remaining as of December 4, 2020 for all 5 regions:
  • Northern California                 20.9%
  • Bay Area                                  21.2%
  • Greater Sacramento               21.4%
  • San Joaquin Valley                  14.1%
  • Southern California                 13.1%
The Governor noted at the press briefing that state health experts’ projections show all of the state’s regions could fall below the threshold in days or a couple of weeks. 
The new statewide order goes into effect TODAY, Saturday, December 5th at 12:59pm.  For regions that fall under the threshold, the new restrictions under the statewide order go into effect 24 hours later.  The restrictions would then last for AT LEAST THREE WEEKS, and then be reviewed every week thereafter to see if the region has gotten back above the ICU capacity threshold.
So, given the change in the percentage and the SoCal region now under the new threshold, San Diego County will be under the new restrictions starting tomorrow, Sunday, December 6th at 12:59pm.  Here’s what would change as a result: 
  • Outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants would be prohibited (delivery, take out and curbside pick-up will still be allowed)
  • Those businesses/activities who will be required to close:
    • Personal care services (salons, barbershops, massage) 
    • Indoor/Outdoor playgrounds and indoor recreational centers
    • Museums and movie theaters 
    • Wineries, bars, breweries, and distilleries 
    • Cardrooms and casinos
Here’s what would still be allowed, with some modifications: 
  • Critical infrastructure industries may remain OPEN (CLICK HERE for a list of those industries) – THIS INCLUDES CONSTRUCTION
  • Offices could remain OPEN ONLY for “critical infrastructure” employees and support (which is pretty much the present rule for San Diego County under the Purple Tier and with the previous “stay at home” order)
  • Hotels could remain OPEN ONLY to support “critical infrastructure” employees and travel – NO Leisure travel visitors will be allowed
  • Retail and shopping centers would be limited to 20% capacity indoors; curbside pick-up will also be allowed
  • Schools that have already received state waivers may remain open (no new school openings can occur)
  • Places of worship may only allow outdoor services
  • Outdoor recreation areas including beaches and trails could still be used
In order to read the new order from the California Department of Public Health, please CLICK HERE.
For more information, please go to the California Department of Public Health Website HERE.
In terms of resources available for residential and business tenants, the County announced some new programs earlier this week.
County of San Diego Emergency Rental Assistance Program
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a rent relief program of up to $3,000 per renter to pay for past-due or upcoming rent.  This is a part of the second wave of the County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.  To be eligible, households must be renting and have experienced a COVID related financial hardship.  Households must fall UNDER 60% AMI to qualify.  For more information please CLICK HERE.  
County of San Diego Small Business Stimulus Grant Program
Also on Tuesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved an additional $20 million to their Small Business Stimulus Grant Program (CLICK HERE for news release). The program was established to help businesses hurt by COVID related government closure orders.  Each Supervisorial district will get $4 million dollars and review and recommend businesses to get support.
Businesses that can apply include: 
  • Restaurants
  • Gyms and fitness centers, including yoga studios
  • Movie theaters
  • Museums
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Event planners (weddings, festivals, fairs, etc.)
For more information or to apply for the program, please CLICK HERE
CALOSHA Proposed REVISED COVID Workplace Rules
Lastly, on workplace rules, there was some activity recently by CAL OSHA that could impact both private and public employers.  The CAL OSHA board announced last week that new workplace rules to help combat the spread of COVID have been adopted and will go into effect within a few weeks following a short review and comment period.  The rules would likely be in place for 6 months but could be extended for up to 14 months. The standards, adopted as a part of a broader COVID workplace rule package, would require both public and private employers to create written COVID-19 prevention policies that identify and mitigate workplace specific hazards.  Employers would also have to provide face coverings and personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.  The new rules would also require that employers identify and fix COVID-19 hazards with the help of workers, notify all potentially exposed employees and offer them testing, pay workers while they are quarantined, and report all outbreaks to local health departments — provisions that Cal/OSHA wrote were “necessary to combat the spread of COVID-19 in California workers.”  If there are changes, we’ll let you know and keep you posted on the implementation schedule.  In the meantime, to read the new rule, please CLICK HERE.