ESCONDIDO — The Escondido City Council met last on May 13 and unanimously approved a Business Recovery Strategy that implements temporary regulatory and non-regulatory measures to assist local businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan allows for things like permit extensions, more and longer outdoor displays and sale events, the off-site sale and delivery of alcohol, repurposing off-street parking for restaurant carryout zones, temporary signage relief and more.
Currently, businesses that are open in Escondido, and throughout San Diego County, primarily consist of those deemed essential, including grocery stores and restaurants (for takeout, delivery and drive-through).
In recent weeks, North County leaders and elected officials have been urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to loosen restrictions and allow non-essential businesses to reopen. Until then, Escondido hopes this Business Recovery Strategy will be a step in the right direction.
“The goal is to get on the road to economic recovery,” said Amber Tarrac, deputy director of economic development for the city of Escondido. “We wanted to allow some flexibility for businesses depending on what works for their model, and, as a city, we wanted to provide them with a variety of different options to choose from.”
The plan, however, is not a business loan program like ones that have recently been implemented on the federal and county level and even by some cities.
“We are encouraging local business owners to apply for the different stimulus programs at the state and federal level, as well, but we wanted to take a different approach that would support businesses with other measures,” Tarrac said.
The City Council will revisit the plan at its next meeting to approve it as an Urgency Ordinance, which would allow the measures to be effective immediately. They will also consider extending the temporary moratorium on residential and commercial evictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council also heard a budget review at its May 13 meeting.