SAN DIEGO — A new round of federal stimulus appears to be on the way as San Diego again deals with a coronavirus shutdown order.
As it stands, more than 100 thousand San Diegans remain unemployed, as businesses are forced to close or limit their services. The governor's office ordered restaurants to go to takeout only, salons to close and gyms to transition outside. Meanwhile, ICU capacity in Southern California is at 0 percent.
The new proposal looks similar to the original, called the CARES Act, which passed in late March. There is, however, a key difference - the direct payments to Americans are cut in half.
Unemployed San Diegans will get an additional $300 on their weekly payments starting the week of Dec. 26, lasting through March 14. The prior stimulus bill added $600 per check. Plus, San Diegans who earned up to $75,000 in 2019 will get $600 in direct stimulus payments, down from the $1,200 in the first bill.
"I think it's got to be more," said Alan Gin, economist at the University of San Diego. "This is a really serious situation, businesses are going out of business, and they need a lot more help than what's being provided in this package."
But others say they are ready for any help. David Heine, owner of Beumont's and Brockton Villa, recently laid off 42 workers and created a gofundme page to help them. He says the forgivable small business Paycheck Protection Program loans are vital and will seek a second round.
"We get SDG&E invoices, we get water invoices, we have to pay our insurance, liability insurance, workers comp, that all continues, so the expenses are extraordinary," he said.
Heine said the new loan would give him the confidence to close or transition to takeout only and still have the resources to reopen.