San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders keeps in touch via his iPhone and computer. Photo by Rana Sampson

As San Diego’s chief of police from 1993 to 1999, Jerry Sanders used to lock people up. Now he has to navigate a lockdown.

As head of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the former San Diego mayor worries about member businesses amid the pandemic crisis. He ran a survey in late March that showed 234 firms expect 1-50 staff reductions and 137 firms expect 81% to 100% of their revenue to be at risk.

And an April 2 survey found that more than 86% of businesses in San Diego expect to see revenue losses in the wake of COVID-19.

Sanders recently wrote about a website created with links to resources.

“In accordance with health and safety guidance, the chamber team is working remotely. We are available to you during this time…. As more businesses implement responses to diminish the risk of virus spreading and heighten awareness for employees, I encourage you to reach out with questions and concerns. Our chamber team is here to help.”

So who helps Jerry Sanders? Village Vino for one.

Here’s our chat with the 69-year-old Kensington resident.

Times of San Diego: How are you working during this pandemic? What telework tools are you using?

Jerry Sanders: I am working remotely out of my house in Kensington mostly using my iPad and cell phone. I have also very quickly learned how to use Zoom and other virtual meeting platforms so I can connect with the Chamber Team at our Monday all staff meetings and for other meetings, programs, and media interviews.

How many in your household — number of kids and adults? How are you all getting along?


There’s just my wife and I at home. She’s also working out of the house. It gives us a lot of time together and we do enjoy being home together. Before this, we both had pretty busy schedules of evening events and meetings. We often wouldn’t see each other at home too much, especially during the week. This has given us lots of time to just enjoy being home together.

How are you getting food and other necessities? How often do you personally go out, or are you taking delivery mostly?

About once a week I go shopping during senior hours at Trader Joe’s and sometimes at Vons. I make sure we have enough so I don’t have to make more than one trip a week. I do visit a Starbucks drive-thru first thing every morning. It’s how I always start my day. And we have done some takeout – we really like flatbreads at Village Vino.

Aside from official local, state and government channels, how are you getting news about the outbreak? How much social media do you use?

I don’t use social media. I go the old school route and read The San Diego Union-Tribune paper every day. I also check the news online, but just twice a day – once in the morning and evening. I visit a variety of major news outlets like The New York Times and Washington Post.

How do you ward off negative emotions — fear, anxiety, depression? What steps are you taking to preserve mental and physical health?

One of the best methods I’ve found for keeping a positive outlook during this time is to FaceTime our granddaughters who are 3 and 5 years old. Having a conversation with them really lifts the spirits and is a delightful diversion.

What else do you want people to know about your own personal response to the outbreak?

We are doing our best to model the behavior recommended by officials. We are staying in as much as we can, taking precautions when we go out, and lots of hand washing and sanitizing. We all play a role in getting through this pandemic safe and healthy. We need to protect ourselves and each other by following the guidelines that have been set down.

Sixth in a series. We invite suggestions for interview subjects — prominent San Diegans in politics, business, nonprofits, sports and the arts. Write to Ken Stone, contributing editor, or post a comment.

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