A proposal to develop a plan to reopen San Diego County businesses as soon as the public health order expires on May 1 was denied in a 2-3 vote by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
The proposal, presented by supervisors Jim Desmond and Kristin Gaspar, would allow county staff to begin developing reopening criteria for certain businesses.
It had three main points: to open outdoor recreational activities as soon as possible; to begin immediately drafting the reopening criteria for gyms, salons, restaurants and large warehouse businesses; and to start lobbying the Governor to open businesses in San Diego County on May 1.
Supervisors Nathan Fletcher, Greg Cox and Dianne Jacob voted against the proposal.
Jacob said her hesitation was giving an absolute deadline on when businesses should reopen. Instead, she said, the county should be focusing on reopening when certain criteria is met, like when testing is readily available or when the county can be sure hospitals won't reach capacity if there is a surge.
"What I see we're dealing with is a health crisis on the back of an economic crisis," Jacob said. "And until we solve the health crisis we're not going to solve the economic crisis."
The Board of Supervisors does not have the authority to decide when businesses can reopen. The jurisdiction lies with the California Governor's Office and the San Diego County Public Health Officer.
Desmond said that he understood the limitations, but was asking his fellow board members to develop a plan now that could be presented to the state for business reopenings as close to May 1 as possible.
Supervisor Cox said -- citing an economic recovery group announced last week -- that county public health leaders were already working to develop a set of guidelines for business reopening but he could not vote on a proposal that set a hard deadline for when that would happen.
Neither could Supervisor Fletcher, who released the following statement following the vote:
“We all want to open things back up, but we have to exercise caution and ensure our actions are guided by the facts presented to us and advice from public health experts not arbitrary dates decided by Supervisors Desmond and Gaspar.”
The San Diego Economic Recovery Advisory Group created last week is comprised of local "civic and business leaders,'' representing a variety of industries that can advise how best to safely reopen for business, and how to have the local economy thrive in a business environment so largely affected by COVID-19.
City and county officials are working with San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation to form the group, which will submit recommendations to regional leaders in conjunction with guidance from public health officials.