County: Businesses must adapt to guidelines to reopen

Posted at 5:20 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 20:54:52-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego businesses ready to reopen will have to adapt to new guidelines before they get the green light.

The County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a framework for businesses to reopen. The guidelines require employers take measures to protect their workers' health, including maximizing teleworking opportunities, taking their temperature, wearing face coverings when within six feet of each other, and adopting a schedule to disinfect bathrooms.

Local employers will also have to adopt a safe reopening plan by filling out a form on the county's website. The form does not have to be submitted, but must be posted at public entrances.

The move follows Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement that some businesses, such as bookstores, floral shops, sporting goods stores and clothing stores could reopen as soon as Friday. Newsom, however, gave power to individual counties to regulate.

"i was surprised because it felt sudden. I was expecting things to be slower," said Nancy Warwick, owner of Warwick's bookstore in La Jolla.

Warwick says sales are down at the bookstore 95 percent amid the pandemic. Her skeleton crew of six is fielding phone and internet orders from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will deliver locally. She says she would like to expand hours on Friday, and create a curbside pickup in which customers and staff can have real conversations - with social distancing.

"What we sell is essential," Warwick says. "I understand that it's not classified as an essential business, but people, they need their books."

But other types of businesses say guidelines won't matter if customers aren't coming. At Spitfire and Head Lettuce in the UTC area - owners Scott and Thai Slater say they depend on workers at nearby office towers - which are now empty.

"We had to pivot the business because we knew we wouldn't be able to stay afloat and employ our team without being creative," Scott Slater said.

Instead, they raised upwards of $70,000 through donors, which they've matched - to provide meals for medical personnel.

It allowed them to rehire some staff - and make a difference when most customers stay home.