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Unemployment rates in Carlsbad fell in June to roughly 15%, after reaching nearly 30% in May. Courtesy photo
Carlsbad Cities Community Community News

Carlsbad leaders working to curb rising unemployment

CARLSBAD — After a gradual economic recovery, Carlsbad may see another decline due to state closures imposed on July 13. But the city is working closely with local organizations to keep businesses open and residents employed.

Carlsbad’s unemployment rate as of May 2, when many businesses were completely closed, was about 25 to 30%. In June, unemployment lowered to 14 to 16%, with more people returning to work than people being laid off.

“To me, that’s probably temporary,” Mayor Matt Hall said. “After they just closed everything back down you’re going to see [unemployment] go back up again.”

During a July 14 Carlsbad City Council meeting, Hall estimated that out of the 20,000 people employed in Carlsbad’s leisure industry, a majority are now out of work.

With gyms closing for a second time, Carlsbad’s Crunch Fitness General Manager Brad Moser continues to collect unemployment. Even while open, fewer employees were needed as only about 30% of members actually returned and about half of the equipment was being used.

“As far as bringing people back, you want to make sure that they feel comfortable and confident,” Moser said. “We just opened with the general manager, some of the front desk people and the cleaning staff. I didn’t need a full staff because we weren’t getting the population that we normally get coming into the gym and some people were hesitant to come in.”

Carlsbad’s $5 million stimulus and business loan program began in May, but the city has yet to distribute any loans, as approximately 150 applications are currently being reviewed.

“We’re in close contact with businesses to make sure they’re aware of [the loan program], because if they’re having to close the second time then they might need assistance where they didn’t think they needed assistance before,” City Communication Director Kristina Ray said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we get additional businesses coming forward because it does seem like the COVID emergency is going to be affecting them for some time.”

Carlsbad businesses can now activate an outdoor space to continue operations and avoid full closures. More modifications may be created in the future as Carlsbad’s economy continues to fluctuate.

“I’ve never seen the City of Carlsbad, Chamber of Commerce, and Carlsbad Village Association work so close,” Hall said. “We are doing everything humanly possible to work with the businesses and make them aware of all the financing opportunities, loans and grants — federal, state and local — and getting them through the process. So it’s brought us closer together.”

In the region, with a COVID-19 case rate of 157.2 per 100,000 residents, San Diego County remains on the state monitoring list, requiring businesses such as gyms, malls and salons to operate outside only.

The current restrictions are in addition to other statewide indoor closures for businesses, including restaurants and theaters.

3 comments

Being Fair Rules July 25, 2020 at 6:56 pm

The City, the Chamber of Commerce, The Village Business Association are doing an outstanding job. The curbside services, outdoor restaurant tables & allowing nails, hair and similar services to be outside with the City approval is phenomenal, too. The firefighter husband and his wife discussing their specific fully mini-school concept reflects the true spirit in Carlsbad. Every challenge can be wisely confronted with top-notch solutions.

These are a few thoughts I have been thinking about. They are measures of specific change, a few specific steps back involves air-conditioning transmission. Grocery, essential retail being open a few more hours so fewer people in stores. Fever testing clients at the doors of essential bank and credit union doors, post office possibly best. Gyms ( re-opening) tightly following all regulations, fever checks, cleanings, and air conditioning either off or at minimum low–at all times. Schools opening as the Carlsbad Superintendent sees fit. Hotels and motels–either double masks at all times, including in fitness center or only allowing the guests rooms to use AC and guests to regulate their AC. Hotel and motel common areas required to keep AC use at minimum. No tolerance for community outbreaks: inspectors and police officers having a highly media-publicized 2-days of public educating and thereafter citing “indoor and outdoor gatherings that break local rules and mask-wearing rules. Just a few thoughts and thank you.

Being Fair Rules July 25, 2020 at 4:09 pm

I was born–seemingly loving business, operations, economics…so this is unchangeably hard for me to post. But, for several days I have non-stop had the heaviest heart–I think the only way to economically pull through is to re-close further. The choice is not there if we want the highest percentage of of small business to really pull through. I also think we need to heavy fine non-mask wearers. They have no clue and do not care how much they are hurting our desperate small businesses and every other person who really cares to wear a mask. Being fair to all is the only way to permanently get through this with best outcomes.

Being Fair Rules July 25, 2020 at 4:32 pm

COVID 19 Carlsbad has done everything right in all its detail from the start—starting many, -many months ago. I am fully grateful to Mayor Hall, to all the chiefs and department heads and also all the other decision-makers. The issue is around us and the entire state of California. If the County re-shut down even for a week–it would help exponentially. (including helping the Re-Opening Business Inspector Task Force.) But, also, California is in dire state in other counties. The State really should be immediately shutting down for even 10-14 days. It would be monumental to the numbers.

But, also, every single person–not wearing a mask–including in Carlsbad should be getting $1,000 fines. Every child, every person, every person of every age matters and so does every hard working unemployed person and every desperate business owner. If it was for me, I would even say a $2,000 fine….after silently observing my own neighbors in my own town home community. 2/3 of them–don’t wear a mask–ever. I like the $2,000 idea and it going towards helping small businesses in Carlsbad re-open safely and stronger.

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