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SD County Board of Supervisors to discuss $34M stimulus package, reopening


Last updated 5/19/2020 at 11:18am

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will meet today to discuss various issues related to reopening the county, including a $34 million economic stimulus package designed to assist local businesses.

The Economic and Humanitarian Stimulus Package, proposed by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Diane Jacob, includes $17 million "for

implementing economic stimulus programs for restaurants and small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,'' $15 million for behavioral health services and $2 million for child welfare services.

Funding would come from the federal CARES Act.

On Monday, Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine welcomed a capacity crowd and a line out the door as the first of four tribal casinos to open this week despite coronavirus stay-at-home rules keeping some other businesses shuttered.

Viejas and the other casinos are on tribal land, meaning they are not subject to the same state regulations that have limited other business operations in California. Sycuan Casino Resort plans to reopen Wednesday, Jamul Casino Thursday and Valley View Casino & Hotel Friday.

Harrah's Resort Southern California also announced plans to reopen its casino at noon Friday.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, said Monday the county health department disagreed with the casinos' timing but lacks jurisdiction to block the action.

The four casinos opening later this week had some limitations, such as bingo and poker remaining closed, restaurants operating for limited hours and gaming areas requiring appropriate spacing between players and staff. Patrons and staff also were to undergo temperature checks, wear masks at all times and practice physical distancing.

Videos taken by reporters and the public Monday at Viejas Casino showed a line outside the gambling establishment -- which reportedly reached capacity by 11 a.m. Most of those in line outside appeared to wear masks and respect social distancing requirements.

A walk-in testing site at the Tubman-Chavez Community Center at 415 Euclid Ave in Southeast San Diego will open its doors today and has capacity for 132 testing appointments a day.

San Diego County health officials reported 110 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths on Monday, raising the totals to 5,946 cases and 211 deaths.

At the same time -- citing decreasing coronavirus hospitalization and ICU rates statewide -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced a relaxation of restrictions that could allow more businesses to reopen quicker in a majority of the state's counties. Newsom also said that if the current trends continue, the state may be able to significantly ease restrictions statewide in the next few weeks.

The looser restrictions announced by Newsom include requirements that counties have no more than a 5% increase in hospitalizations over a seven-day period, have no more than an 8% positive rate among people tested for coronavirus and have 15 trained patient-contact-tracing workers per 100,000 population.

The governor said he was encouraged by recent statewide statistics that have shown a 7.5% decrease in coronavirus hospitalizations over the past two weeks, an 8.7% decline in intensive-care unit patients in that same period and an "unprecedented number of masks'' and other personal protective equipment being distributed throughout the state.

Newsom also announced a $125 million state relief program to provide financial assistance to undocumented immigrants during the coronavirus pandemic. Fletcher said the Jewish Family Service of San Diego would oversee both San Diego and Imperial counties' Immigrant Disaster Relief Fund.

Applicants for the disaster relief fund locally may apply for a one-time sum of $500. A household will be limited to $1,000. Interested applicants should call 858-206-8291 to get more information.


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