SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — With California aiming to fully reopen the economy in June, San Diegans are getting ready for businesses to finally rebound this summer.
As long as California meets the criteria laid out by Governor Gavin Newsom, the state will drop its tier system, and businesses will be able to return to pre-pandemic operations on June 15.
“It’s a huge win for restaurants and businesses,” said Benjamin Nicholls, the Hillcrest Businesses Association executive director. “A lot of restaurants, especially in Hillcrest, have really struggled to do the right thing, preserve social distancing, follow all the rules, and now they’re being rewarded with what seems to be an early return to normalcy.”
Nicholls expects more businesses to hire back laid-off employees, especially when the bar scene returns in Hillcrest.
“The timing is perfect; I mean, summer is around the corner. Locals getting out of their houses is one thing, but people getting back to regional traveling is huge for San Diego,” said Nicholls.
The San Diego Tourism Authority said 2.8 million visitors traveled to San Diego in 2019 for meetings, which created an economic impact of $6.6 billion and an estimated $292 million in tax revenue.
Julie Coker, the President & CEO of the tourism authority, said in a statement to ABC 10News that the return of meetings and conventions is essential to the region’s economic recovery and, “Though we are awaiting further details the safety guidelines for events, meetings, and conventions held after June 15, we would like to thank our local and state elected officials, as well as our dedicated tourism industry workers, for their tireless efforts to get us here. The future is looking brighter every day.”
Jerry Sanders, the President, and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce said he expects this date to bring back more employees and cut down our unemployment rate.
“We’re already down to 8 percent; I can see us moving really rapidly back to a 4 or 5 percent unemployment rate. It’s tremendous for business, it’s tremendous for families, jobs, and just the local economy,” said Sanders.
“It’s an optimistic sign, certainly for the tourism and hospitality industry, which is one of our largest industries in San Diego.”
According to the California Department of Public Health, “Unless testing or vaccination status is verified for all attendees, conventions will be capped at 5,000 persons until October 1.”
Guidance for outdoor community events has also been left off of the state’s reopening plan throughout the pandemic. With the June 15 target date comes renewed hope for many San Diegans working in the events industry.
“It was devastating to us. I lost 80 percent of my business; I lost 80 percent of my employees.” said Laurel McFarlane, owner of McFarlane Promotions and President of the San Diego Event Coalition.
“We do San Diego Pride, we also do La Mesa Oktoberfest, Chula Vista Starlight Parade. For us, it’s 200,000 people having a pathway back, and it’s our future,” she said.
More guidance is expected from the governor’s office soon.