The Morning Report
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Some of San Diego’s biotech community has gotten a boost from the coronavirus, with companies pursuing vaccines or new tests for the virus. But for the rest of the industry, it has resulted in clinical trial disruptions, loss of access to venture capital and the suspension of certain types of drug research.
In a new story, Jared Whitlock looked at the new reality settling in for a San Diego cluster that employs 65,000 people and generates nearly $40 billion in local economic impact.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus has claimed, at least temporarily, two long-running San Diego businesses:
- The iconic Hotel del Coronado announced it was shutting its doors, for now, for the first time in its 132 year history. Good luck finding a better symbol for the severity of the crisis facing our local tourism industry. (NBC 7 San Diego)
- And in yet another sign of how the crisis is affecting local media, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles announced Thursday it was shuttering after 41 years of publication. (San Diegoville)
Serving Seniors Scrambles to Address Problems With Food Deliveries
Nonprofit Serving Seniors is rushing to bolster food deliveries and support for residents of its East Village senior housing complex after government officials learned of issues with some deliveries and other resident concerns.
Some residents of the 200-unit Potiker Family Senior Residence worried this week when an expected monthly food bank delivery didn’t happen. Dozens of others also still weren’t signed up to receive twice-daily meal service more than a week after public health directives tied to coronavirus forced Serving Seniors to cancel meals previously served in the facility’s dining room.
And, as Lisa Halverstadt reports, some residents concerned about other directives that seniors avoid outside interactions also voiced concerns about security gaps at the building’s entrance.
After calls from county officials and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s office, the nonprofit made arrangements for a food bank delivery early next week and the county opted to bring in fellow nonprofit Jewish Family Service to assist through the weekend.
- County officials revealed Thursday that a third San Diego County resident, an 87-year-old woman, has died of the coronavirus.
- Fox 5 reports that Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Padilla is “making slow, steady progress” in his fight against the virus. Padilla, the first elected official in the state to announce he had coronarvirus, spoke to our Andrew Keatts about his diagnosis before he was forced to check into a local intensive care unit.
The City’s Coronavirus Budget Crisis Is Here
Once hotel occupancy bottomed out and storefronts across the city shuttered, it didn’t take long to realize a city budget dependent on hotel and sales taxes was going to be in big trouble.
Thursday, the city released projections showing it is expecting to need $109 million in cuts by June 30, based on its declining revenues, as the Union-Tribune reported.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Scott Sherman said difficult budget decisions will be coming soon.
“San Diegans are hurting right now and the city is going to be hurting as well,” Sherman said.
City finance officials will continue to refine the projections as the situation develops, but Faulconer’s proposed city budget for the 2021 fiscal year is due by April 15.
Speaking of budget crises … In the latest Learning Curve, Will Huntsberry assesses the likely impact of coronarvirus on school budgets. Spoiler alert: It’s not looking good.
Huntsberry spoke with Rep. Susan Davis, who represents portions of San Diego and serves on the House education committee about how federal money could help.
Oceanside Keeping Beaches, Parks Open – for Now
Oceanside officials are keeping the city’s beaches, parks and golf courses open – at least for now – despite a series of closures elsewhere in the region.
Kayla Jimenez reports that Oceanside officials are urging beach visitors to follow social distancing requirements and have instituted patrols to monitor activity there.
Some Oceanside residents told Jimenez they are concerned people will gather at the city’s parks and beaches because they are the only ones that remain open in North County, while others said they aren’t concerned as long as visitors don’t congregate.
- Oceanside officials say they are not ticketing homeless people amid the coronavirus pandemic after the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties raised concerns about potential enforcement in North County cities. (Union-Tribune)
- In South Bay, Coronado beaches are also open, but city officials are trying to discourage people from going. They’re also planning to monitor crowds this weekend for potential “spill-over” from San Diego’s beach closures. (Union-Tribune)
In Other News
- The operator of National City’s golf course wants to raise green fees to cover minimum wage increases. (Union-Tribune)
- Rural school districts are grappling with unique challenges amid coronavirus shutdowns. (KPBS)
- National City could soon become the first in the county to allow cannabis lounges. Up to six establishments in the city could get permits allowing patrons to buy and consume the drug on premises. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, and edited by Sara Libby.