“What’s most pressing on all of us is that we are in the middle of a pandemic the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetimes,” said Bry. “And the financial cost of this health emergency is devastating, unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”
Predicted Bry, “Long term, we’re in trouble. The economy is not going to come back quickly. We’re (also) going to be wearing face masks and doing social distancing for a long time.”
Bry added she’s hearing some restaurateurs saying new dining-in restrictions under the regional re-opening plan are so strict “they feel they’re better off doing take-out than trying to go back and do in-person.”
Pointed out Bry, “I’m truly concerned about our small-businesses. I’m looking at how to restructure (government). With most employees working remotely, how much office space does the City need?
Bry said she is in favor of both a temporary City hiring freeze, and no raises for employees, as budgetary cost-saving measures during this health crisis.
But there was some good news about the pandemic from Bry who noted Dr. Wilma Wooten, the County health official who authored the recent restaurant and retail reopening plan, has said “almost everybody in San Diego who has died from COVID had an underlying health condition, and in some cases, two. Basically, what she says is that if you are healthy, you may get the virus, but that you are going to be able to fight it off. But if you have underlying health conditions like heart disease, hypertension or diabetes, that you are seriously at-risk and you need to be very careful.”
LJSA board member Phil Wise presented a plan for aiding restaurants in reopening along the Shores commercial strip on Avenida de la Playa.
“My concept is to try and help the restaurants on Avenida who will be reopening to get more customers by putting platforms out onto the street to allow more dining space from 5 to 10 p.m.,” he said. “I’ve talked to the restaurant owners, and they seem to be interested in something like this. We need to get a permit to put the platforms in there, and close the street and allow restaurants to serve alcohol on the platforms out in the street.”
Colleague Joe Dicks had a problem with that.
“I’m very concerned about backing this kind of issue without handling the threshold issue of social distancing and other requirements to keep the community healthy,” he said. “It’s a land-use. We can’t increase the concentration of foot traffic until we have some uniform enforcement guidelines. I’m not even sure what the guidelines are anymore.”
LJSA voted to create an ad hoc committee to work with Wise in studying how to implement his platform proposal on Avenida.